The nation is becoming more partisan, Gallup poll trends from the past decade show, with self-identified conservatives outnumbering both moderates and liberals for the first time since 2004.
Still, fewer than 41 percent of Americans identify as Republican or Republican-leaning -- eight points below the declining percentage of Americans who identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning.
An aggregate of 21 Gallup and USA Today/ Gallup polls from 2009 show that 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, while 36 percent identify as moderate and 21 percent identify as liberal. In 2008, by contrast, moderates matched conservatives at 37 percent while 22 percent called themselves liberal.
The percentage of Americans identifying as either conservative or liberal has crept up over the past decade, Gallup concludes, while the percentage of moderates has declined.
Though the percentage of conservatives jumped three points in 2009, the percentage of Americans who identify with the Republican party remained statistically the same in 2009 -- at 40.7 percent -- as in the previous year. The percentage of self-identified Republicans has declined in Gallup polls since 2004.
More Americans -- 49 percent -- said they were Democrats or Democratic-leaning. However, 2009 was the first time since 2005 that fewer than half of Americans called themselves Democrats. Additionally, the percentage of Democrats steadily declined over the course of 2009.
As many as 36.6 percent of Americans in 2009 said they were independents. The only other year this decade with that many self-identified independents was 2007, when 38.6 percent of Americans called themselves independent.