The GOP party preference went up as Biden’s job approval went down.
The Democrats had a preference advantage among Americans starting 2021. It did not last long.
Gallup asks people if they identify as Democrats or Republicans. The Independents are asked if they lean Democrat or lean Republican:
Both the nine-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter and the five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter are among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter since it began regularly measuring party identification and leaning in 1991.
- The Democratic lead in the first quarter was the largest for the party since the fourth quarter of 2012, when Democrats also had a nine-point advantage. Democrats held larger, double-digit advantages in isolated quarters between 1992 and 1999 and nearly continuously between mid-2006 and early 2009.
- The GOP has held as much as a five-point advantage in a total of only four quarters since 1991. The Republicans last held a five-point advantage in party identification and leaning in early 1995, after winning control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s. Republicans had a larger advantage only in the first quarter of 1991, after the U.S. victory in the Persian Gulf War led by then-President George H.W. Bush.
Gallup noted the change in party preference changed with Biden’s job approval. Biden had a 57% approval rate at his 100-day mark.
The approval rate continued to drop. On July 29, Biden’s approval hit 50% when people realized Biden did not shut down COVID.
Biden went down to 43% in September after the horrendous Afghanistan withdrawal.
Biden’s approval is still around 43% as we face historic inflation and more COVID cases.
Gallup also found that Independents make up the largest political group in the U.S. This explains why the Democrats and Republicans take turns holding power in Congress:
Overall in 2021, an average of 29% of Americans identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans and 42% as independents. Roughly equal proportions of independents leaned to the Democratic Party (17%) and to the Republican Party (16%).
The percentage of independent identifiers is up from 39% in 2020, but similar to the 41% measured in 2019. Gallup has often seen a decrease in independents in a presidential election year and an increase in the year after.
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