Voters Identifying as Independents May Surpass Major Parties

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 07:18 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The proportion of voters who call themselves independents has grown and may surpass affiliation with either of the major parties, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

In 2012, 32.7 percent of voters identified as independent from 28.9 percent in 2008, according to Annenberg. The trend is in keeping with 2013 data from Gallup and McClatchy-Marist showing that more than 40 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as independents. This makes independents a potentially bigger bloc than either Republicans or Democrats.

According to the Annenberg data, independent voters are no longer likely to lean Democratic, which had been the case before 2012. In fact, the trend among independent "leaners" may be toward the Republican Party.

The study, which compared data from nearly 30,000 telephone interviews conducted during the past four presidential campaigns, appears in the March 2014 issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly.

The biggest question is why the gap of independent voters who previously leaned toward the Democrats closed and whether the trend will continue toward the GOP in 2014, Ken Winneg, managing director of survey research at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said in a statement.

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