(NewsNation) — A recent poll found that the largest percentage of Americans politically identify themselves as independents.
The 2022 Gallup poll surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. adults over the phone. During each conversation, Gallup asked whether the person on the other end of the line identified as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent. Those answering independent were then asked a follow-up question about whether they lean more toward the Republican Party or the Democratic Party.
The follow-up question yielded the outcome that U.S. political party preferences are at a nearly even split.
According to the polling, 45% of surveyed U.S. adults identified as Republican or said they were Republican-leaning independents, and 44% identify as Democrats or say they were Democratic-leaning independents.
Gallup says 2011 was the last time political party preferences were this closely divided, and that Democrats have “held an edge” in most years. The near-tie in party identification served as good news for Republicans. Before the 2022 polling results, only once, in 1991, significantly more Americans identified or leaned Republican than Democrat.
Graph of U.S. political preferences based on Gallup telephone surveying from 1991-2022. (Graphic: Gallup)
Party preferences were previously close or tied in 2001 through 2003 and in 2010 and 2011. According to Gallup, since 2009, independent political identification has increased and has now reached levels not seen before.
“Now, political independents (41%) greatly outnumber Republican (28%) and Democratic (28%) identifiers,” Gallup said in a news release.
Since 2011, Gallup says no less than 39% of surveyed Americans have identified as independent. They point to Generation X and millennials identifying as independents as a significant reason for the spike in independence.
What does the future of political party preferences hold? Gallup thinks 2023’s numbers may be similar to 2022’s results.