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Younger Americans identify as Independent more than Republicans, Democrats combined

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Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – Younger Americans are still less willing to commit to one political party, newly released polling data shows.

Gallup released survey data Thursday showing that Millennials and Gen Z Americans are sticking with the “Independent” label. In fact, more of the surveyed Millennial and Gen Z Americans identify as Independent than as Republican and Democrat combined.

The poll found that 52 percent of both Gen Z and Millennials identify as Independent. For comparison, 21 percent of Millennials identify as Republican and 27 percent as Democrat. Only 17 percent of Gen Z identifies as Republican and 31 percent as Democrat.

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“Historically, Americans have had weak attachments to the two major U.S. political parties in young adulthood, but as they get older, they usually became more likely to identify as a Republican or a Democrat,” Gallup said. “That historical pattern, evident in the Silent and baby boom generations, appears to be changing. Generation X and millennials, who are now middle aged or approaching it, have maintained or even expanded their identification as political independents in recent decades.”

Older Americans lean less Independent and more Republican.

“Currently, 44 percent of Generation X identifies as political independents, which is unchanged from three decades ago, when the first part of the generation was entering adulthood,” Gallup said. “The majority of millennials, 52 percent, are independent, and that percentage has increased by five percentage points in each of the past two decades. Meanwhile, Gallup data show far lower, and declining, proportions of independents among the Silent Generation (now 26 percent) and baby boomers (now 33 percent), consistent with the historical pattern.”

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Trends show that Independent identification has grown in the last three decades.

“Members of Generation Z who have reached adulthood match millennials in the percentage of political independents, at 52 percent,” Gallup said. “The data also reveal that each younger generation has had a greater proportion of independents throughout their lives than the prior generation did, even at similar stages in their life. For example, the 44 percent of Generation X (now aged 42 to 57) that currently identifies as independent is 10 points higher than the 34 percent of baby boomers who said they were independents in 2002 (when they were aged 38 to 56).”