Party affiliation gap narrows dramatically

Gallup's new poll on the percentages of Republicans and Democrats in the country shows a narrowing of the formerly large difference favoring Democrats:

In August, an average of 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned to the Democratic Party, while 40% identified as Republicans or leaned to the Republican Party. This 5-point advantage represents a decided narrowing of the gap between the parties from the 17-point Democratic advantage in January.

The total of 45% current Democratic support derives from 34% of Americans who identify as Democrats and 11% who identify as independents but say they lean to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party's 40% support total includes 28% Republican identifiers and 12% Republican-leaning independents.

The shrinking Democratic-Republican gap since January is due to a decline in Democratic identification (from 38% to 34%) and a shift in the leanings of independents, from largely Democratic to an essentially equal distribution. Importantly, there has been essentially no increase in Republican identification over this time.

That last little nugget is a warning for Republicans. As bad as the Democrats have performed in the majority, the opportunity to take over the House in 2010 will hinge largely on what the Republicans can offer as an alternative. If the GOP can give the voters a reason to vote for them rather than against the Democrats, they will likely realize many more victories nationwide.




Gallup's new poll on the percentages of Republicans and Democrats in the country shows a narrowing of the formerly large difference favoring Democrats:

In August, an average of 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned to the Democratic Party, while 40% identified as Republicans or leaned to the Republican Party. This 5-point advantage represents a decided narrowing of the gap between the parties from the 17-point Democratic advantage in January.

The total of 45% current Democratic support derives from 34% of Americans who identify as Democrats and 11% who identify as independents but say they lean to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party's 40% support total includes 28% Republican identifiers and 12% Republican-leaning independents.

The shrinking Democratic-Republican gap since January is due to a decline in Democratic identification (from 38% to 34%) and a shift in the leanings of independents, from largely Democratic to an essentially equal distribution. Importantly, there has been essentially no increase in Republican identification over this time.

That last little nugget is a warning for Republicans. As bad as the Democrats have performed in the majority, the opportunity to take over the House in 2010 will hinge largely on what the Republicans can offer as an alternative. If the GOP can give the voters a reason to vote for them rather than against the Democrats, they will likely realize many more victories nationwide.