Tag Archives: Independent Voters

Independents Surge


Last month Market Research Foundation published a party loyalty report featuring data from early-voting South Carolina – one of three states with a disproportionate say in the presidential nominating process.  According to our findings the Palmetto State is “home to a large and independent-minded segment of the electorate that does not particularly relate to either of the two major parties.”

More than two-thirds of Republicans – and more than half of Democrats – in South Carolina said they would consider voting for an independent candidate if they were unsatisfied with their party’s nominee.

They aren’t alone.  Across the country there is a rising tide of political independence – as evidenced by Gallup’s latest party identification data.  According to Gallup, 47 percent of Americans identified as independents during the month of September 2014.  That matches an Obama-era high – and is well above the 33 percent who identified as independents in January 2009.

Independents have been polling at or above 40 percent for the last eighteen months – also the longest Obama-era streak.

Unlike the last time we addressed Gallup’s party identification data – there was some good news for Republicans this month.  While only 25 percent of those survey identified as Republicans, that number shot up to 47 percent when voters who “lean Republican” were included.  By contrast, 26 percent of respondents identified as Democrats – a number that only climbed to 42 percent with “leaners” included.

September marked the first time since July 2012 that the GOP enjoyed an advantage over Democrats when “leaning” voters were factored into the equation.  Obviously that bodes well for the party less than two months out from a midterm election.

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.