More Americans identify as Democrats than Republicans by a margin not seen in a decade, according to a Gallup report released Wednesday.
An average of 49% of adults aged 18 and over reported belonging to the Democratic Party or saying they are independent with democratic inclinations throughout the first quarter of 2021, the poll reported. The survey was conducted by telephone from January to March.
By comparison, 40% of adults identified as Republican or Republican. The 9% difference is the Democrats̵
The remaining 11% of respondents were politically independent with no bias.
Democrats have typically had an advantage of 4 to 6 points over Republicans. Shortly before the first quarter of the year, the gap in affiliation was almost non-existent before the Democrats’ advantage widened by 9%.
The report also noted a 6% increase in independents; from 38% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 44% in the first quarter of 2021. This is the highest percentage since 2013, when 46% of the respondents in the survey were identified as independent. The increase correlates with the decline in the identification of the Republican Party, just as in 2013, when the GOP saw a decline in popularity during the government’s shutdown of the Affordable Care Act.
Party identification is identified in each survey Gallup conducts, according to senior editor Jeff Jones, who was also the author of the report.
“This is something that we think is important to track to give a sense of the relevant strength of the relevant parties at any given time and how party preferences react to events,” Jones told the United States today.
The margin of the vote for sampling errors was plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Events encourage party loyalty, Jones said. Gallup’s latest polls on political affiliation were taken during President Joe Biden’s inauguration – days after supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol building on January 6.
“I think we see a similar dynamic with Trump leaving office, again with the very low approval rating and (the excitement around) Biden coming into office,” Jones said.
Trump ended his presidency with a 29% job approval rating – his lowest ever while in office, the United States reported earlier today.
The transition to the COVID-19 aid package in March, a drop in new infections and deaths from coronavirus and pushed for mass vaccinations ahead of an increase in affinity for the Democratic Party, according to Gallup.
Fewer people die from COVID-19 thanks to vaccination efforts targeting vulnerable populations. But the United States continues to report high levels of cases.
Past leaps in party affiliations
The bump in democratic affiliation following Biden’s inauguration reflects former President Barack Obama’s first term, Jones said.
“It was really the highlight we have seen; kind of the period 2006-2009, when really the majority of Americans either identified themselves as Democrats directly or were independent, but they leaned towards the party, ”he said. “Our data on this only goes back to the ’90s, but that’s pretty much the only time we’re consistently had a party with the majority of Americans on their side.”
Although rarer and more short-lived Republican benefits followed the Gulf War in 1991 – when George HW Bush was in office – and the 9/11 terrorist attacks during President George W. Bush’s term, according to Gallup. Several also reported GOP affiliation after the midterm elections in 1994, 2010 and 2014.
Whether the Republican Party can regain advantage during the midterm elections in 2022, according to Jones, can depend on the successes of the Biden administration.
“A lot of it depends on how things go during the year. If the coronavirus gets better and the economy bounces back and a lot of people expect Biden to keep relatively strong approval ratings, then it’s going to be better for the Democrats,” he said. Jones. “But if things start to get worse – unemployment rises or coronavirus gets worse – then his approval will go down. That will make things a lot better for the Republican Party for the interim period next year. “
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Gallup poll shows a big increase in Democratic affiliations