More Americans siding with Democrats, Republicans lag: poll

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 9, 2013 11:56am EST

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) points to the crowd during his election night victory rally in Chicago, November 7, 2012, alongside Vice President Joe Biden. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) points to the crowd during his election night victory rally in Chicago, November 7, 2012, alongside Vice President Joe Biden.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats have regained the edge over Republicans among U.S. adults expressing a party preference even as a growing number of Americans say they are politically independent, a poll released on Wednesday showed.

Some 47 percent of Americans identified themselves as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents last year, compared to 42 percent who said they were Republicans or Republican-leaning, according to the Gallup survey.

"That re-establishes a Democratic edge in party affiliation after the two parties were essentially tied in 2010 and 2011," the polling firm said.

The findings are based on all of Gallup's polling data from 2012, which includes more than 20,000 interviews with adults across the country.

The November election saw Democratic President Barack Obama win a second term and Democrats pick up eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The party also maintained its control of the Senate.

But in a finding that could spell trouble for both parties, the number of Americans claiming political independence crept up.

Forty percent of respondents last year said they aligned with neither party, up from 39 percent in 2007 and 1995, the poll showed. Thirty-one percent said they were Democrats and 28 percent said they were Republicans.

"The rise in independence is perhaps not surprising, given the low esteem in which Americans hold the federal government and the political parties," Gallup said.

"But with most Americans willing to at least express a leaning to either party, it does suggest the potential for the parties to gain more solid adherents in the future," it added.

The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1 percentage point.

(Reporting By Susan Heavey; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (16)
flashrooster wrote:
It’s the media’s fault. Republicans shouldn’t change a thing.

Jan 09, 2013 12:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:
Flashrooster is right. Republicans, you need more tea party. That’s the way out of this.

Jan 09, 2013 12:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
No, the tea party is precisely the problem. I have a lot of respect for a variety of republicans and I understand what the republicans stand for.

The Tea Party consists of extremists. They have no interest in politics, only to control.

If the Republican Party wants to become viable again they need to do two, and only two, things:
1. Acknowledge the existence of global warming.
2. Stop electing people like Todd Akin who make the party look terrible in any light.

Jan 09, 2013 12:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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