Party ID trends favor Republicans in advance of Election Day

2020 Momentum – Party ID trends favor Republicans in advance of Election Day

Bottom Line: The last time Republicans led in partisan identification nationally was February. That is until now. As a political analyst there are numerous data points I study regularly all times of the year and regardless of cycle. When they’re noteworthy I bring the storylines to your attention. Gallup just published their monthly party ID results and they’re certainly noteworthy as we head down the homestretch of the 2020 election cycle. Gallup surveys monthly on party ID and have since 2004. Because of the regularity with which they survey we’re able to see changes in momentum and tie catalysts to moments in the news cycle as well. Additionally, party ID is important for pollsters to understand for the purpose of having accurate samples in their polls. First, let’s look at what’s changed in party ID this year as we’ve gone from a record setting economy to a pandemic driven recession and everything in between that’s led us to where we are today. Here are the high points for each party based on self-partisan identification.

  • January: GOP+3
  • August: DEM +4

You can see Democrats benefitted by a seven-point swing from the start of the year straight on into August. But then something began to change. Maybe it’s the economic recovery, maybe it’s displeasure with Joe Biden? Whatever the case might be, we now see that entering October Republicans were back to leading Democrats in national partisan ID for the first time since February as there was a big five-point swing in favor of Republicans between mid-August and the end of September.

Importantly for Republicans, they have the most recent political momentum and are currently in a position that’s actually more favorable today than it was on Election Day 2016 or 2018.

  • Party ID split Election Day 2016: DEM +3
  • Party ID split Election Day 2018: DEM +3
  • Party ID split today: GOP +1

Republicans currently are four points better off in Party ID than in either of the past two cycles. If this can be maintained or improved upon, this will setup well for Republicans November 3rd. This also gives us a renewed idea of what polling samples should look like. Credible national polling samples should now include one percent more Republicans being surveyed than Democrats.

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