Jan 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Independent voters dominate U.S. while Dems slip to record low: Gallup

Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

Political independents have further cemented their standing as the dominant voting bloc in America ahead of the 2024 election, new Gallup data showed.

Why it matters: An expected re-match between President Biden and former President Trump will see both candidates vie to capture the independent voter.

  • An average of 43% U.S. adults identified as independent in 2023, tying the 2014 high, per data released Friday.
  • Meanwhile, Americans identifying as Democrats hit a new low of 27%. Democrats previously held an edge in most years since regular polling began in 1991.
  • Slightly more independents leaned Republican than Democrat in 2023, Gallup also found.

By the numbers: 27% of respondents identified as Democrats or Republicans, respectively.

  • Conservatives and moderates tied for the top ideological identifications at 36% each in 2023.
  • 25% of respondents said they lean liberal.
  • Axios previously reported that a record number 49% of Americans said they were politically independent in the spring of 2023, citing monthly data from March.

State of play: Independents began to outnumber Democrats and Republicans in 1991, per Gallup.

  • There were some exceptions between 2004 and 2008.

Presidential election years usually see a drop in the percentage of political independents, so these figures could change in upcoming months.

  • "The increase in the percentage of independents has come more at the expense of Democrats than Republicans, which might be expected since Democrats were previously the largest political group," per Gallup.

Worth noting: Several notable third party or independent candidates have declared bids for the presidential election, but they're largely considered spoilers who would tip the election in favor of either Biden or Trump.

  • Political group No Labels has been seeking a centrist nominee to potentially mount a third-party campaign.

Go deeper: America's deepest partisan divides are getting deeper

Go deeper