Dem ID down five points
January 6th, 2011
09:10 AM ET
4 years ago

Dem ID down five points

(CNN) – The number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats is at its lowest point in seven years, according to a new survey by Gallup - a warning sign for the president and his party as the next race for the White House gets set to begin.

According to the annual Gallup survey of party identification, 31 percent of Americans say they are Democrats – a number that is down five percentage points from 2008 and is the same as it was in 2003 – the year following impressive Republican gains in the House and Senate.

But Democrats can take some solace in the fact that an even smaller percentage of Americans (29 percent) identify themselves as Republicans, despite the GOP's hugely successful midterm elections that resulted in a change of control in the House of Representatives. That percentage is up 2 points from last year but still significantly below the 34 percent that said they affiliated with the GOP in 2004.

Meanwhile, those Americans who say they identify with neither party has shot up to 38 percent, up 3 points since 2008 and among the highest it has been in the 22 years Gallup has conducted the survey.

In a separate 2010 Gallup poll seeking to pin down the leanings of independent voters, 45 percent of Americans said they were Democrats or independents who leaned Democrat while 44 percent said the same about Republicans. The 1-point advantage for President Obama's party is the smallest in seven years.

The survey results are based on aggregated numbers from 21 different Gallup and USA Today/Gallup polls conducted in 2010. In all, the results include information gathered from more than 25,000 interviews with U.S. adults by telephone.


Filed under: Democrats • Polls
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Take note, Obama...

    With each party's base around the same size, you're going to need the majority of the independents. If you continue with your far-left agenda, start packing your boxes.

    January 6, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. KatR

    Proof that the results of the midterms....wherein only 37% of the voting electorate bothered to vote........did NOT reflect that the majority of Americans support the GOP platform.

    January 6, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. What happened?

    I know what happened. Democrats couldn't and didn't work together in Congress. They weren't smart enough to defend criticism and show all of their humanitarian efforts in a good light, like health care reform.

    January 6, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Debbie from Arizona

    This isn't a surprise. More people are identifying themselves these days as Independents. I think most folks are really tired of the two party system and I think that's a good thing. People should vote for the best candidate and not just the party.

    January 6, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Sgt, Joe

    This too will change when the fooled middle class voters see what their GOP pals have in store for them. They fell for the lies and exaggerations, but I don't think they are that dumb to do it twice in a row. Already the GOP is backing out of their big promises. All they did was whore themselves for votes and left empty promises.

    January 6, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Oy Vey Az

    But where have all of these political defectors gone ? To grandma's house ? To Boca for the warmth ? On a long sea cruse ? Or maybe they are all fed up with the political hacks in office that continue to thwart the electorate's wishes, and they have all gone to their local gun store ?

    January 6, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Brian in MD

    Surprised? I am not.

    January 6, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. gt

    no surprise here... most american now are independents,,, not democrats or republicans.... the people are tried on big banks, lawyers, unions, big time managers who make the big money while the hard working joe gets whats left.. ...

    January 6, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    What this survey shows is that the Republicans, with their insistence on obstructing everything that may benefit the people, are becoming frustrated with politics. That's part of the GOP's game plan: Crush the American people and then rule with an iron fist.

    Wake up, folks, and smell the coffee! Don't let the reprehensible behavior of the Republicans get you down! Fight back – and vote for the party who really cares about you: The Democratic Party.

    January 6, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. once upon a horse

    if nothing else this just shows how FICKLE and bandwagon jumpers we as Americans are. Just a few years ago we had Republicans even afriad to have the R by their name and nobody wanted to be a Republican. Now with the Tea Party rise and the GOP gains nobody wants to be a Democrat. This thing goes in cycles and if the GOP blows it up again more of the closet Dems will come out of the woodwork. Not really news here if you ask me.

    January 6, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. john, PA

    Nobody wants to be associated with losers, after the 2012 election; there won’t be enough Democrats to call it a party. You can’t run on:
    higher unemployment
    higher taxes
    higher home foreclosure rate
    tax evading Democratic Party
    tax evading Obama administration
    the “Porkulus” Spending bill
    out of control budget / no budget
    health care reform disaster
    4 terrorist attacks in the USA since Obama took office
    Oil spill disaster in the Gulf

    January 6, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. WhyMust

    we have a 2 party system? I thought the point of our govt setup was to allow for even the non-rich to be able to become leaders.

    January 6, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Ernie

    The 5 point drop is due to all the new "Graduates" who were told by Obama that there would be jobs for them well there isn't and they are mad at Obama. These are the people he targeted and told them that prosperity is around the corner for them and they are the future. You can't have a future with out "Jobs". Obama promised them there would be jobs there's isn't any. This number is going to get larger and larger as the 2012 elections get closer and closer. These new "Graduates" have to pay their "School Loans" back within 6 months of graduation. I don't think Obama is going to give the money to pay for it. There an old saying "Don't make any promises it you can't keep them" Obama broke his promise. The Democrates who think Obama is doing a "Great Job" and who don't have a "Job" I don't think they will be voting Democratic in 2012.

    January 6, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. lynn

    Once again, CNN, nobody asked our household. Count 7 more here for President Obama, which includes a 21 yr. old colllege girl. And they say young people aren't getting a good education. I beg to differ. We're thrilled she won't be kicked off the family insurance and our 16 yr. old grandson, a leukemia survivor, will continue to thrive and buy insurance on his own someday.

    January 6, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Lee Bartholomew

    I'm a registered Democrat since 2004 because after some idiot stole the presidency I had to become involved. (that and it was bonus points for a class :) Ironically I came to the Iowa Caucus rooting for Wesley Clark. But ended up with Howard Dean. Who because the press hadn't been to a pep rally looked like he was losing his brain. So we got John Kerry, which I saw as no chance of winning and was right. I did vote for him. I still consider myself independent though. Both liberal and conservative views. Most of the conservative views are in religion. Everything else and indeed religion is liberal. And frankly Democrats, Republicans.. same thing. Both right wing, even on the political graph I took in college. Dems were center right and repub licans was so far to the right fascist was next. The only way you skip the center line left is Socialism. I would consider myself liberal. Lincoln was a Liberal. Thats how it should be thought of. We've had a conservative congress for a number of years now. ie a Liberal house and a conservative Senate. Hence why nothing got done.

    January 6, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    So the DemocRATS are shrinking, surprise, surprise. I guess socialism and drunken spending doesn't suit some former Dems. So out of that 31%, what percentage is made up of leftists? Maybe half? So we have 15% of the people trying to drive this country over the leftist abyss and into banruptcy.

    January 6, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. malcolm in St Louis

    don't worry once those newly elected republican clowns start posturing, the country will start re-identifying with the saner democrats.

    January 6, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. jpmichigan

    I can attest to this poll. I am a independent but for over 20 years have lean towards the Democratic party, but after placing Obama on the ticket against McCain , I did change that coarse. The Democrats choice to place an inexperienced, very short term Senator, from the pay to play state of Illinois, and all that I read about Obama and his political history and what I could find (which was little) of his educational and work backround, and his governing agenda in the Oval Office, proved I made the right choice.

    January 6, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. T'sah from Virginia

    Everyone wants to be an Independent so they can flip back and forth. Democrats LOST 3 points – Independents GAINED 3 points – Duh!!! The RepubliCAN'Ts stayed the same!!

    No one leaving the Democratic status is going to the RIGHT – No one!! It's SAFE to be in the middle so you can't be blamed for anything. Eventually, the entire country will be in the MIDDLE – veering LEFT or RIGHT!!!

    In the meantime, I will support our current leader, President Obama, while he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD!!

    January 6, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Tim

    It looks to me like it's a warning sign for both parties. The electorate is disenfranchised with Republicans and Democrats and it's not hard to see why with their incessant gamesmanship, bickering and uncompromising loyalty to their special interests.

    January 6, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Patrick Lewis

    I'll never understand why people will identify against who they believe is right just to be on the "Winning Side." That said, I can understand people being disgusted and not wanting to be associated with anyone at times. This isn't "A bad thing for Obama" as the headline I clicked on suggested, but more a confirmation that Democrats are worn out after hard fought political battles. This will get spun like crazy, I'm sure, but it's just a poll reflecting what the election already told us.

    January 6, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. paul

    As I suspected the number of independents have risen dramatically. People lean toward independent when asked which party they belong to. I predict the democratic "independents" will show up at the polls in 2012 after they see what Boehner and crowd do the next couple years, and when they recognize just how far right the Republican party has moved. The Republicans preventing a tax break to 98% of the people unless millionaires and billionaires could get a tax cut will not be popular.

    January 6, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Pete

    After just one day of the GOP in control of the House, people are seeing them for the liars and hypocrites that they are. These numbers will change. Looking forward to a shellacking of the GOP in 2012.

    January 6, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. Sniffit

    Meh...still higher than GOPers and, as disgust grows with the whole lot of them from both sides, it's likely we'll see a continuing increase in people identifying as independents, to the detriment of identification with both parties. CNN didn't post the margin of error percentages, probably because this all constitutes "aggregated numbers" (making it fairly impossible to calculate without a lot of work, and we know how much today's "journalists" hate work...it is, after all, why they fabricate news via polling numbers in the first place), but it's fairly safe to assume that the 1% jump for the GOP falls within the margin of error, so it essentially indicates no change and any gloating would be misplaced. It would be useful to know how the 4% drop reported for identification with Dems relates to the margin of error though, since it may exceed it, given the aggregate sample size. In any event, this really doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know:

    Those identifying as GOPers really represent their hardcore base and it's likely that the 28-30% range represents a virtual constant...which is probably close to the same for hardcore Dem basers too, altho historical figures indicate it might be a slightly higher percentage for the Dems. The GOP is not winning hearts and minds to identify with them via their shenanigans, legislative procedural abuses, demogoguery, misinfromation campaigns, etc., just angering enough of the people who identify as Dems, but who were not part of the hardcore base, such that they start identifying as independents instead. It's all been part of the GOP's "if we're going down, we're taknig the rest of you with us" strategery. Furthermore, Dems themselves are also alienating those who identify with them, because people are getting sick of watching them behave like spineless capitulators who haven't the first clue how to engage in the messaging war or atke a stand int he face of the GOP'S BS.

    January 6, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Brian

    Of course it is. The liberal agenda is not the American way, plain and simple!

    January 6, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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