Record number of people now identifying as Democrats while GOP backing slumps

A record number of Americans, almost half of the population of the US, now identify more with Democrats than with Republicans by a margin President Joe Biden’s party hasn’t seen in a decade.

An average of 49 per cent of adults in America identified with Joe Biden’s Democratic Party or said they are independents with Democratic leanings during the first quarter of 2021, according to Gallup polling agency.

In a significant drop, only 40 per cent people reported affiliation to Republicans or leaned towards the party.

The agency said the nine percentage-point boost to Democrats is the largest since the fourth quarter of 2012.

As per the breakup, 30 per cent of people said they were affiliated to Democrats while 19 per cent were Democratic-leaning independents. In comparison, 25 per cent identified as Republicans while the other 15 per cent were Republican leaners.

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The remaining 11 per cent of the people said they were independents with no partisan leanings.

Gallup, the agency that routinely conducts surveys to identify people’s political affiliation, conducted the poll through phone between January and March.

Democrats typically had a 4 to 6 point advantage over Republic and even widened to double-digit through most of 2006 and early 2009. It was at the end of the George W Bush administration and Barack Obama was to take over after the elections.

“It is not unprecedented for Democratic Party affiliation to rise after a Democratic candidate wins the presidential election. It is also not unprecedented to see more people shift to independent political status in a non-election year, as has occurred,” Gallup agency said in its analysis.

However, Republican advantages have been generally short-lived and not so common. It was followed by the Gulf War in 1991 during Republican president Bush’s administration and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Gallop.

GOP affiliations also saw a spike during the Republican electoral successes in the years 1994, 2010 and 2014.

More people are identifying themselves as political independents, with or without political leaning, marking an up by 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 from last year. It has increased from 44 per cent to 38 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The latest survey comes as Mr Biden was inaugurated in the White House after pro-Trump rioters disrupted certification of his victory on 6 January. This quarter also saw Mr Biden’s administration issuing a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package and expansion of vaccination in the US.

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