The Democratic Party has increased its margin in voters who identify with it rather than Republicans, and going into this year’s election has increased its advantage among independent voters and in swing states, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted during the first two months of this year.
Pew says voters now favor the Democrats by a “decidedly larger margin” than the previous two election cycles.
Voters who identify themselves as Independents actually occupy first place at 37 percent, followed by Democrats at 36 percent and Republicans at 27 percent. That’s a 3 point gain for Democrats since 2004 and a 6 point drop for Republicans, putting them at their lowest ebb in 16 years.
The Democrats have added to that an edge among self-described independents. In 2004, independents broke roughly evenly among the two parties with 12 percent favoring Democrats and 11 percent the Republicans. But now, 15 percent lean Democratic compared to 10 percent who lean Republican. That means Democrats have a 51 percent to 37 percent margin if the leaners are combined with those who outright identify themselves as being for one party or the other.
However, Pew cautions against automatically interpreting these results as a Democratic advantage in the presidential race. “There is not a one-to-one correspondence between the balance of party identification in a given state and the electoral outcome in presidential elections,” it said, a face that is evident in state-by-state and national polls.