There U.S. has more voters who identify as Democrats than identify as Republicans, a new Gallup poll finds.
Gallup’s polling for the second quarter of 2015 shows that Democrats have regained their edge in party affiliation over Republicans, 46 percent to 41.
Of the 3,566 adults polled, 30 percent identified themselves as Democrats while 16 percent said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, totaling to 46 percent. One-quarter of respondents identified as Republicans and, like Democrats, 16 percent of independents leaned towards their party.
Parties have been even in the past three-quarters though Democrats have typically had an edge in party affiliation for the past 24 years.
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In a few instances, Republicans held at least a slight edge for multiple quarters. More people were aligned Republican in 1991, after the U.S. victory in the first Persian Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush.
Republicans also had an edge from late 1994 to early 1995, when Republicans had a majority of seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time in four decades. Support for Republicans also surged in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on September 11, Gallup reports.
The GOP also took a slight lead around the 2014 midterm elections, The Hill reports.
On the implication of the poll, Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup wrote that, “Republicans have lost ground versus Democrats over the last three months in terms of the percentage of Americans who align with each party, essentially resetting the political map to what it had been in 2013 and early 2014, and putting the Democrats in a favorable political position as the 2016 campaign is getting underway.”
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He also noted that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has been ticking up, and that has coincided with other Democrats’ approval ratings. Gallup argues that Obama’s gains in approval ratings may be related to low unemployment, lower gas prices and an easing of international challenges such as Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
Another possible reason for the shift is that the 2016 elections are receiving major political news coverage. Jones writes that “Democrats may be benefiting from having a well-known and relatively popular front-running candidate in Hillary Clinton, which paints a contrast to the large, fractured and generally less well-known field of Republican presidential candidates.”
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