Large Plurality of Americans Identify as Independent


For the fifth consecutive year, at least four in 10 U.S. adults identified as political independents. “The 42% identifying as independents in 2015 was down slightly from the record 43% in 2014,” reports Gallup. “This elevated percentage of political independents leaves Democratic (29%) and Republican (26%) identification at or near recent low points, with the modest Democratic advantage roughly where it has been over the past five years.”

Most Professed Independents Really Aren’t


Percentage of the 2012 electorate who were true independents, who don’t lean toward either party, according to the American National Election Studies survey, notes Charlie Cook. In 2012, the ANES survey “found that 87 percent of independents who, when pushed, conceded they feel closer to the Democratic Party wound up voting for Obama. The same percentage of independents who admitted a soft spot for Republicans went for Romney. In 2008, Obama’s hope-and-change campaign drew a whopping 91 percent of Democratic-leaning independents, while McCain won 82 percent of independents who leaned Republican. Simply put, many of the people who self-identify as political independents are, for electoral purposes, partisans. They vote almost as predictably as Americans who simply label themselves as a Democrat or a Republican.”