Gallup reports today that the Party Affiliation Gap in U.S. is the Narrowest Since 2005 as “more independents lean to the Republican Party”:
The advantage in public support the Democratic Party built up during the latter part of the Bush administration and the early part of the Obama administration has all but disappeared. During the first quarter of 2010, 46% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45% identified as or leaned Republican.
The latest results, based on aggregated data from Gallup polls conducted from January to March of this year, show the closest party division since the first quarter of 2005, when the parties were tied at 46%. Democrats enjoyed double-digit advantages in party support in 11 of 12 quarters from the second quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2009.
By the end of last year, the Democratic advantage had shrunk to five points (47% to 42%), and it narrowed further in the most recent quarter.
Hmmm. . . what happened since the end of last year? I think some really big, really unpopular, really expensive bill passed. Wonder if that had anything to do with the Democratic downturn?
These numbers caused Ed Morrissey to ask:
Republicans managed to preserve a majority in both chambers of Congress and re-elect a President in 2004 while trailing in party identification by three points in the annual Gallup survey. How will they do while trailing by a single point in 2010?
Jim Geraghty offers a cautionary note for the GOP, “Apparently the movement includes little or no increase in the number of self-identified Republicans and is almost entirely among independents describing themselves as leaning towards the Republicans.”