Forget Democrat or Republican. Americans who say they’re politically independent hit a record-high 42% on average last year, the Gallup Poll says.
In a year when attitudes about Congress and trust in government plunged to new lows, Gallup says the percentage of Americans who considered themselves independent in 2013 was the highest in the 25 years it has measured it.
Americans who identify with the Republican Party dropped to a record-low 25% last year while Democratic identification stayed at 31%. The high point for Republicans was in 2004 when George W. Bush won a second term and GOP identification was 34%, Gallup says.
Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones says more independents “adds a greater level of unpredictably” to the battle for Congress in this year’s midterm elections.
“Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it’s not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes,” Jones writes in his analysis on Gallup’s website. He says candidates “who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.”
Gallup’s findings are based on more than 18,000 interviews it conducted last year for 13 different polls.