Divided nation increasingly moving away from partisanship

They say we live in the most partisan political moment, at least in recent history. But now comes a sign that voters are starting to weary of the Republican versus Democrat divide: Voters are increasingly likely to not identify with either party.

According to a new Gallup poll, more people identify themselves as independents than identify with either political party. Independents account for 43 percent of Gallup respondents, with Democrats at 30 percent and Republicans at 26 percent. That’s a higher percentage of independents than has ever been recorded by Gallup before.

But Democrats shouldn’t take comfort at remaining No. 2: The number of people who identify themselves as Democrats is trending down, while Republicans saw a slight uptick.

From Gallup: “The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans. This is likely due to the partisan gridlock that has come from divided party control of the federal government. Trust in the government to handle problems more generally is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, and Americans’ favorable ratings of both parties are at or near historical lows. Thus, the rise in U.S. political independence likely flows from the high level of frustration with the government and the political parties that control it.”

Here in Nevada, Democrats still enjoy the highest active voter registration, with 40 percent of all active registered voters. Republicans have 35 percent and non-partisans (Nevada’s word for “independent”) have 19 percent. (Third parties comprise the rest.)

But back in January 2014, non-partisans had 17.6 percent of active registered voters. Over the course of 2014, they added 27,255 active registered voters to their ranks. Democrats ended up losing 5,943 people over the course of the year, while Republicans added 8,317.

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