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More Americans identify with Democratic Party than GOP, poll shows

Looking at Americans' party affiliation, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans, new Gallup polling finds.

The results look at the second quarter of 2015. A total of 46 percent of Americans said they consider themselves Democrats and 41 percent identified themselves as Republicans. The two parties were fairly even in the last three quarters of 2014, including during the midterm elections, according to Gallup's Jeffrey Jones.

The Democrats' current five-point lead restores the advantage the party had in 2013 and early 2014.

Since Gallup started polling party identification and partisan leanings in 1991, Democrats have typically been in the lead. However, Republicans have pulled ahead on several occasions:

  • In 1991 after the U.S. victory in the first Persian Gulf War
  • In late 1994 and early 1995 after midterm election victories, giving the Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years
  • In late 2001 and early 2002 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

With Republicans being the less favorable party, the political map in America resembles what it was in 2013 and early 2014, putting Democrats in a favorable political position for the 2016 election.

The gains for the Democrats could be linked to President Obama's higher quarterly approval rating. In an April poll, his approval is at 46.4 percent which is the best it's been since mid-2013.

"The recent changes in party affiliation may also reflect Americans' fading memory of the GOP's electoral successes in the 2014 midterm elections that made it the majority party in the Senate while increasing its majority in the House of Representatives," Jones stated in the survey results. "This follows the pattern that occurred after the 1994, 2002 and 2010 elections, when stronger Republican positioning after those elections proved short-lived."

The results from the poll came from an even split of cell phone and landline interviews, conducted between April and June 2015, with a random sample size of 3,566 composed of adults aged 18 and older living in the U.S. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.