Dems Maintain 8.3 Percent Affiliation Edge

Gallup has also released data on the partisan affiliation of American adults that buttresses the sentiment written about by Politico (among others) that the Democrats' majorities in Congress aren't yet realistic threatened.

Through the 2009 calendar year, Gallup found that Americans allied with the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by a 49.0 percent to 40.7 percent margin -- or an 8.3 percentage point edge for the Democrats. While this is down a net 3.4 percentage points from 2008, it still represents a major difference from just a few years ago when the Republicans were in the majority. Indeed, during 2004, when the Republicans posted their largest congressional majorities in nearly 60 years, the Democratic advantage among American adults was a paltry 2.7 percentage points (47.9 percent to 45.2 percent). Putting these numbers together, the Democrats' standing with the American public is still a net 5.6 percentage points better than it was five years ago.

Putting the Gallup partisan affiliation numbers up against the net nationwide vote for the House of Representatives over the past three cycles, it appears there is at least somewhat of a correlation (with the top line representing the net Democratic affiliation edge and the bottom line representing the net Democratic House vote edge or, in the case of the 2004 elections, disadvantage):

(Sources: Partisan affiliation data from Gallup; nationwide House votes from 2004, 2006, and 2008 from Wikipedia.)

As you can see, the past two cycles, in particular, have seen a close correlation between partisan affiliation and the nationwide House vote, with Democratic affiliation edges corresponding with with actual vote edges of about 3 percentage points less (exactly 3.0 2.3 percentage points in 2006 and 2.9 percentage points in 2008). (The spread between partisan affiliation and the nationwide House vote in 2004 was wider -- 9.1 5.3 percentage points.)

This clearly is not a perfect correlation -- but it's not a terrible one, either. And it makes intuitive sense: As more Americans identify with the Democratic Party, the Democrats tend to earn a greater share of the nationwide House vote.

This isn't necessarily predictive of the future. That said, the Democrats' affiliation edge in 2009 -- 8.3 percentage points -- looked a lot more like their edges of 10.2 percentage points in 2006 and 11.7 percentage points in 2008 (when they won) than their edge of 2.7 percentage points in 2004 (when they lost). And it's hard to see how that could be bad news. 

(NOTE: This post has been updated with better numbers.)

Tags: House 2010, Senate 2010, Partisan Affilation (all tags)



great change

there is really a change inthe percentage of parties people are sick of the same promises and speeches..<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;

by angel82 2010-01-06 09:27PM | 0 recs
RE: Dems Maintain 8.3 Percent Affiliation Edge

Hi Jonathan,

the 2004 nationwide House vote is not correct – see,_2004#Overall_results (the percentage given in the summary box on top of the page is not the vote percentage as indicated). I think it
is the house seat shares, not the popular vote percentage. The 2004 GOP popular vote lead is just 2.6 points. That suggests the close correlation between party affiliation and vote percentage is present already in 2004.

The same might be the case for the 2006 summary box on Wikipedia (here the spread between vote and seat percentage isn't that big though). 2008 it seems to be correct.


by GermanDeaniac 2010-01-07 04:29AM | 0 recs
RE: Dems Maintain 8.3 Percent Affiliation Edge

You are totally right. Thanks for the note.

by Jonathan Singer 2010-01-07 11:41AM | 0 recs
But, but...

The "DC beltway types" are out of touch with main street America.  Therefore, this is clearly good news...for JOHN McCAIN!

by lojasmo 2010-01-07 10:21AM | 0 recs
But, but...

The "DC beltway types" are out of touch with main street America.  Therefore, this is clearly good news...for JOHN McCAIN!

by lojasmo 2010-01-07 10:21AM | 0 recs
Liberals Don't Like Wall St.

but I think the rising stock market is our friend this year.  It is unmistakeably signalling a recovery that is stronger than expected, meaning joblessness will be coming down faster than expected.  A rising stock market probably means deflated Republican expectations for 2010 mid-terms.  Added to that the growing optimism of reputable economists, and you probably have a sinking feeling in Michael Steele's stomach.

by Bob H 2010-01-07 12:05PM | 0 recs
When you add Millennials to the affiliation calculus...

you find that Republicans are in a heap of trouble.

The following except is from a paper I'm working on that describes the current American evolution from Conservative Republicanism to Progressive Democraticism;

"Born between 1978 and 2000, and referred to by Ruy Teixeira as the “Millennial Generation,” this demographic group gave Kerry only a 9-point advantage in 2004.  Four years later, however, the group voted for Obama by 66 to 32, or a margin of 34 points.

While Millennials comprised only 20 percent of the total electorate in 2008, their turnout between 2004 and 2008 increased by over four percentage points; a turnout increase rate four times the national average.  More bad news for Republicans is that the voting age members of this Millennial group is increasing by about 4.5 million each year, and by 2020, voting age Millennials will make up almost 40 percent of the electorate.  And this 40 percent Democratic Millinnial electorate effect will be further amplified by the attrition of older voters who tended to vote Republican as strongly as Millennials now vote Democrat. 

That Millennials who in 2008 voted for Obama over McCain by a two-to-one margin will comprise 40 percent of the electorate by 2020 singularly bodes disaster for the Republican Party.  When we, as we will in subsequent sections, factor in that of all groups Millennials will be most effected by the threat of climate change and very strongly effected by whatever Progressive remedies to the 2008 global recession are required, we see even more clearly why today’s Republican Party is truly on its last legs."

For 2010, if Democrats can mobilize Millennials to care enough about their climate-driven future to vote, Republican dreams of winning any Senate or House seats vanishes.



by Georgeo57 2010-01-07 02:13PM | 0 recs


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