The public’s party preferences were almost evenly split in 2022 after years of Democrats having a slight advantage among U.S. adults.
A Gallup poll released on Thursday found that 45 percent of adults consider themselves Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while 44 percent consider themselves Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.
Only one other time in the history of Gallup has significantly more adults identified as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents than Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents — when 48 percent identified more as Republicans and 44 percent identified more as Democrats in 1991.
This was right after Republican President George H.W. Bush oversaw a successful military operation in liberating Kuwait from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.
The Democratic Party has led the GOP in the poll by at least three points since 2011, when the two parties were tied.
Gallup found a plurality of adults, 41 percent, identify as independents. Only 28 percent identify as Democrats and 28 percent identify as Republicans.
The proportion of Democrats, Republicans and independents were about even when Gallup began conducting its polls only by telephone in 1988. Independents started to outnumber members of the two parties in the early 1990s before fading in the early 2000s and growing again since 2009.
Gallup said in its analysis that the increase in independent identification seems to have been driven by members of Generation X and millennials identifying as such. About half of the millennials surveyed and more than 40 percent of Generation X said they identify as independents, while less than a third of older generations said the same.
Gallup said people’s dissatisfaction with the state of the country at a time when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress likely caused the shift in party preference, and similar changes happened in 1994 and 2010. Dissatisfaction with Republican leadership appears to have led to a shift from 2006 to 2008 in favor of Democrats.
The results were based on 10,736 U.S. adults from 11 separate polls from January to December 2022. The margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point.