Field Poll Shows Shift from Dems to Independent

The latest Field poll shows an amazing shift away from party affiliation and toward nonpartisan or third party registration, and nearly all of the shift is away from the Democratic Party.

Crunching the numbers from this poll shows a surprising fact that the GOP is (almost) holding its own, and the Democrats are bleeding voters into the independent ranks, particularly among young, Asian, and Latino voters.  The decline from 34% to 31% for Republicans is accounted for by the fact that most of the population increase since 1978 has been from Latinos and Asians who tend to prefer the Democratic affiliation, but within each demographic the GOP is holding its own.  The drop from 57% to 45% on the Democratic side is all the more dramatic when you consider that the population increase has been within the Democrats’ demographic.

No, I’m not kidding.  The numbers aren’t presented this way in the Field summary but if you take the Field Poll percentages of voters in various categories and change that into numbers and then look at percentages of affiliations in 2009 vs. 1978 you get these interesting results (if you don’t trust my math, do it yourself).

For Asian voters, it works out like this:

Dem            GOP             Ind/3d Party

1978        60%            24%              16%

2009        40%            21%              39%

Latino voters actually show an increasing preference for the GOP, with massive defection from Dem to Indie:

Dem             GOP              Ind/3d Party

1978      77%             17%                6%

2009      57%             18%               24%

The number of white Democratic Party registrants has actually decreased in absolute numbers by about 150,000, while Goppers have picked up an additional 1,000,000 non-Hispanic voters of European descent amounting to a small percentage gain:

Dem             GOP               Ind/3d Party

1978      52%            38%                 10%

2009      39%            39%                 23%

The trend also holds up for black voters:

Dem           GOP                 Ind/3d Party

1978      90%             6%                  4%

2009      76%             6%                 18%

Your suspicion that the new corps of young voters is driving this tendency is borne out by the numbers, here are the numbers for voters under 30:

Dem            GOP                Ind/3d Party

1978     62%            25%               13%

2009     38%            21%               40%

On the whole it is yet more proof that there is an unrepresented middle in American politics, and that party politics per se is becoming increasingly irrelevant and boring to most voters.  It is also proof that whatever direction the American people are looking for, the Democratic Party ain’t it.


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