Oct. 8 (UPI) — More Americans tend to identify politically with Democrats than Republicans, according to a survey that in the past often provided a hint as to which party was stronger entering presidential election year.
Gallup said 47 percent of respondents identified themselves as a Democrat or a Democrat-leaning independent — compared to 42 percent of Republicans who answered in that manner.
The 5-point Democratic edge is less than the 8-point gap Gallup recorded in the first quarter of 2019, but larger than the 3-point gap in the second quarter.
Gallup polled more than 12,000 U.S. residents for the survey, posted Monday.
“Over the past five years, Democrats have averaged a 4-percentage-point advantage in party identification and leaning,” the pollster stated. “The notable departures from that were a 1-point Republican lead in the first quarter of 2015 after the GOP won control of the U.S. Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, and 8-point Democratic advantages in late 2018 and early 2019.
“Longer term, Democrats have typically maintained a slight advantage back to 1991, when Gallup regularly began measuring independents’ partisan leanings.”
“Although Democrats usually hold an advantage in partisanship, Republicans vote at higher rates than Democrats do, which makes U.S. elections competitive,” the report noted.
Gallup said on some occasions, the survey foreshadowed who would make a strong showing in the presidential election.
In the third quarter of 1999, Democrats held a 6-point edge and party nominee Al Gore won the national popular vote the following year. In 2007, Democrats held a 10-point advantage, which was followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama‘s electoral victory.
The polling results, Gallup said, were more evenly divided in other years — preceding elections in 1992, 1996, 2004, 2012 and 2016 — that resulted in a mix of Democratic and GOP presidential victories.
The margin of error for the survey is 1 point, Gallup said.