“REPUBLICAN LEANERS” ALSO ON THE RISE
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.