What's changed with party affiliation in two years? You might be surprised

posted by Brian Mudd - 

What's changed with party affiliation in two years? You might be surprised 

Bottom Line: A couple of questions before I get started... Do you think more Americans identify as Democrats today as compared to Election Day 2016? Do you think fewer Americans identify as Republicans? Once again, media created perceptions probably aren't reality. According to the latest party ID figures nationally from Gallup...  

  • 27%: Republicans 

  • 29%: Democrats 

  • 43%: Independents 

Only two points separate partisans currently. But how does that compare to Election Day 2016?  

  • 27%: Republicans  

  • 31%: Democrats  

  • 36%: Independents 

Republican identification is flat, and Democrats have lost a couple of points. How does that wash with your perceptions of what's changed politically over the past couple of years? There's a meaningful takeaway or two here. First, President Trump's popularity among Republicans has enabled the GOP to hold onto those who already were identifying with the party. The inverse hasn't been true. The Democrat's strategy to simply "resist" President Trump, most commonly embracing hard-left political change – to the extent there's been any within the party, has actually turned off 2% of those who previously identified with the party. It's too soon to suggest that Democrats missed the boat heading into the midterms. But as a reminder the average performance for Democrats in this cycle should be gaining four seats in the Senate and 30 seats in the House. With yesterday's update I was showing Democrats under performing on both sides of Congress. These party identification numbers illustrate part of the reason why. People, especially new voters, have become far more likely to not identify with either party, a seven-point increase, over 2016. 

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