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This New Poll Is a Warning to Democrats and Republicans

Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National ConventionObama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention
The Democratic donkey has seen better days.Photograph by Tom Pennington — Getty Images

The presidential campaign season tends to paint the United States as a country made up of just Democrats and Republicans, but it’s actually Americans who identify as independent who dominate the nation.

According to a poll released Monday by Gallup, 42% of Americans said they were independents in 2015 while 29% identified as Democratic and 26% as Republican.

The share of independents is down 1% from 2014, but it’s above 40% for the fifth consecutive year. It first crossed that threshold in 2011. Gallup attributes the increase in independents to Americans’ frustration with Congressional gridlock due to partisan politics.

The increase in independents has eaten into the percentage of Americans who say they belong to the Republican or Democratic party. In fact, Democrats’ share of the American population in 2015—29%—is the lowest ever recorded by Gallup, which started routinely surveying party affiliation in 1988.


Republicans aren’t faring any better. Their share of the political party pie—26%—is just one percentage point above their 2013 low of 25%.