Poll: Dems again edge GOP in party affiliation

More Americans identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans, according to a new Gallup poll.

47 percent of respondents told Gallup they are Democrats or that they lean Democratic, while only 42 percent said they are Republicans or lean Republican.

Democrats have led Republicans for much of the last two decades in party affiliation, but Republicans have briefly closed the gap several times, including the beginning of former President George W. Bush's first term and the period surrounding the 2010 midterm elections, when Democrats and Republicans were virtually tied at 45 percent.

The high watermark of Democrats' dominance, according to past Gallup data, occurred around 2008, when a rough-and-tumble primary between then-Sen. Hillary Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama electrified the Democratic base and swelled party registration numbers. At that time, Democrats held a 52 to 40 percent advantage over Republicans in party affiliation.

The data also reveal that a record number of Americans - 40 percent - do not officially identify with either party. So while the party identification numbers are undoubtedly good news for Democrats and bad news for a GOP struggling to refashion itself in the wake of a 2012 defeat, voters seem more inclined than ever to cast a pox on both their houses.

Gallup's poll surveyed 20,800 adults nationwide between January and December of 2012 and had a margin of error of plus or minus one percent.

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