Pew: Political party ties run deep

by Karen L. Willoughby |

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – A recent poll of the general public by the Pew Research Center noted sharp differences by race, gender, age and education between Republicans and Democrats.

More Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, high school graduates and dropouts as well as those with post-graduate degrees and Millennials identify as Democrats. Mormons, the Silent Generation and Whites -- especially men, evangelical Protestants, southerners, and those with some college -- identify as Republicans.

"The share of independents in the public, which long ago surpassed the percentages of either Democrats or Republicans, continues to increase," according to the study released April 7.

Pew researchers interviewed more than 25,000 Americans in 2014 to acquire a detailed portrait of where Republicans and Democrats stand among various groups across the nation.

Bottom line, 48 percent of the population self-identifies as either a Democrat or independent leaning Democratic; 39 percent are or lean Republican, according to the Pew study.

According to the Pew study, the Democratic Party appealed to 80 percent of Blacks; 65 percent of Asians; 61 percent of the religiously unaffiliated; 64 percent of post-graduate women; 61 percent of Jews; 56 percent of Hispanics; and 51 percent of the Millennial Generation (those between the ages of 18 and 33).

Republicans on the other hand attracted 70 percent of Mormons; 68 percent of White evangelical Protestants; 55 percent of White Southerners; 54 percent of White men with some college; 49 percent of all Whites; and 47 percent of the "Silent generation," those between the ages of 69 and 86.

"The biggest change in partisan affiliation in recent years is the growing share of Americans who decline to affiliate with either party," according to the Pew study. "The rise in the share of independents has been particularly dramatic over the past decade.

"In 2003, 33 percent of Americans identified as Democrats, 30 percent as independents and 29 percent as Republicans," the study report continued. "Since then, the percentage of independents has increased nine points while Republican affiliation has fallen six points. Democratic affiliation ... rose to 35 percent in 2008, [and] fell to 32 percent in 2011." It's stable at 32 percent, the Pew study determined.

Despite the Democrats' large margin of advantage with those who identify with their party, Republican candidates won handily in the 2014 non-presidential elections, picking up nine Senate seats for a majority of 54 in the 100-member chamber, while also extending its majority in the House by 13 for a total of 247 among 435 congressmen.