Gallup: Independents reach record high

A record high number of people in the United States now identify as independent, according to a new poll.

Forty-two percent said they identified as political independents in 2013, Gallup reports in a poll released Wednesday. It’s the highest Gallup has recorded since 1988.

Only a quarter of the public identified themselves as Republicans, the poll indicates, which is the lowest over that same time span. 

Republican identification peaked in 2004—the year former President George W. Bush was reelected. It has fallen 9 percentage points since that year.

Just over 30 percent, meanwhile, identified as Democrats. That percentage, Gallup says, is unchanged since 2010, but down from 36 percent in 2008.

Gallup surveyed people in four quarters last year. In the fourth, which overlapped with the government shutdown and the rollout of ObamaCare, 46 percent identified as independents. 

The full poll results were collected from 18,000 phone interviews Gallup conducted in separate poll series last year.

Gallup notes it’s not unusual for the percentage of independents to increase in a nonelection year. 

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