2014: Rise Of The Independents

New Gallup polling data reinforces America’s growing trend toward political independence – and an eroding position for Republicans and Democrats.

According to the latest Gallup data, 45 percent of American’s refer to themselves as independents – up from 33 percent in November 2012.  Meanwhile only 23 percent self-identify as Republicans – down from 30 percent after the last election.  In fact GOP self-identification hasn’t climbed above 25 percent since June 2013.

Gallup found 29 percent of Americans self-identifying as Democrats in July – up one percent from the previous month.

Most concerning for the GOP’s 2014 prospects?  The percentage of voters who describe themselves as either Republicans or “leaning Republican” fell from 44 to 40 percent – while the percentage of those describing themselves as Democrats or “leaning Democratic” also fell, from 44 to 42 percent.

Market Research Foundation’s Bill Wilson recently published this column cautioning GOP candidates against over-confidence heading into the 2014 election cycle.  His points have since been reinforced by Victory Lab author Sasha Issenberg, who has described in detail how Democratic agenda items are being used to blunt GOP turnout.

Among these agenda items?  The minimum wage – an issue Market Research Foundation has written about previously.

The key question among this surge in self-identified independent voters is whether their ideological leanings mirror or contrast with their partisan leanings.  Market Research Foundation has conducted polling in numerous states showing a rise in self-identified “conservative” voters, so look for more specific insights on that question soon.