Partisanship means tough 2014 Midterm for Democrats

PRINCETON, NJ — An average of 42% of Americans currently identify as Democrats or say they are independent but lean to the Democratic Party. Slightly fewer, 40%, are Republicans or Republican leaners. That narrow two-percentage-point Democratic edge is closer to what Gallup measured in the third quarter of strong Republican midterm years such as 1994, 2002, and 2010 than in the strong Democratic years of 1998 and 2006.

Gallup began to regularly measure Americans’ party identification, including a follow-up question asking political independents whether they lean Democratic or Republican, in 1993. The combined measure of initial party identification plus the political leanings of independents is useful because it more closely resembles the Republican or Democratic choice voters have in elections. Since 1993, Gallup has found considerable variation in Americans’ party preferences during midterm election years. These differences, particularly in the third quarter, have provided a good indication of which party would fare better in that fall’s midterm elections.

Over the last two decades, Democrats have typically enjoyed an advantage in partisanship among the U.S. adult population. However, Republicans usually vote at higher rates than Democrats.

Read more here: Partisanship Points to Tough Midterm Environment for Dems

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