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March 21, 2008
Fewer Americans Identify themselves as Republicans
The highly respected Pew Research Cemter has published a new poll showing that Democrats own a decided advantage in party identification and that the gap between Democrats and Republicans in some swing states is even larger:
In 5,566 interviews with registered voters conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press during the first two months of 2008, 36% identify themselves as Democrats, and just 27% as Republicans. In 12 swing states, the margin is even bigger in favor of Democrats - 38-27. The GOP has almost always had a distinct disadvantage in party ID so this is nothing new. The problem may manifest itself in the down ticket races because the Republicans will be defending so many open seats due to retirement that in some Congressional races they may simply get overwhelmed.
The share of voters who call themselves Republicans has declined by six points since 2004, and represents, on an annualized basis, the lowest percentage of self-identified Republican voters in 16 years of polling by the Center.
The Democratic Party has also built a substantial edge among independent voters. Of the 37% who claim no party identification, 15% lean Democratic, 10% lean Republican, and 12% have no leaning either way.
By comparison, in 2004 about equal numbers of independents leaned toward both parties. When "leaners" are combined with partisans, however, the Democratic Party now holds a 14-point advantage among voters nationwide (51% Dem/lean-Dem to 37% Rep/lean-Rep), up from a three-point advantage four years ago.