Based on nearly 20,000 interviews conducted between January and October of this year, half of Americans say they think of themselves as Democrats (33%) or as independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (17%). By comparison, just 36% identify as Republicans (25%) or as independents who lean to the GOP (11%).
This 14-point advantage is the largest in nearly 20 years of surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Just five years ago, in 2002, the balance of partisanship was even, with 43% identifying with or leaning toward each political party.
George W. Bush’s historically low job approval ratings are undoubtedly a factor in these trends. In the current survey, the proportion of Americans who disapprove of his performance in office has reached a new high of 63%, more than twice as many as the number who approve (30%). In October 2003, a year ahead of the 2004 elections, 50% approved of Bush’s job performance while 42% disapproved.