CommunityElections

The Rise of the So-Called Independents

There are more self-identified political “Independents” than ever in this country. Gallup found 42 percent of Americans now call themselves Independents while just 31 percent call themselves Democrats and 25 percent claim to be Republicans. From Gallup:

Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2013

If there was an increase in Independents because more people see the two parties as both good options that are difficult to choose between, this trend would not be a bad thing. That is not what is happening though.

While the number of Independents has grown over time, incidents of crossover voting have decreased. Fewer people are voting for one party in Congress and another in the Presidential. We are not seeing the emergence of some large new center that feels well served.

What is happening is Americans are voting more constantly for just one party, yet at the same time are less likely to identify with a party. This speaks to a growing dissatisfaction with the entire system. This would imply more people are seeing the party they vote as simply the lesser of the two evils.

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The Rise of the So-Called Independents

There are more self-identified political “Independents” than ever in this country. Gallup found 42 percent of Americans now call themselves Independents while just 31 percent call themselves Democrats and 25 percent claim to be Republicans. From Gallup:

Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2013

If there was an increase in Independents because more people see the two parties as both good options that are difficult to choose between, this trend would not be a bad thing. That is not what is happening though.

While the number of Independents has grown over time, incidents of crossover voting have decreased. Fewer people are voting for one party in Congress and another in the Presidential. We are not seeing the emergence of some large new center that feels well served.

What is happening is Americans are voting more constantly for just one party, yet at the same time are less likely to identify with a party. This speaks to a growing dissatisfaction with the entire system. This would imply more people are seeing the party they vote as simply the lesser of the two evils.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is now living in the Washington DC area. He created a politics and policy blog, The Walker Report (http://jwalkerreport.blogspot.com/).

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