There are now more Americans who consider themselves politically independent than at any other point in the last three-quarters of a century, according to a new report Monday that emphasizes the critical role this demographic will play in the 2012 election.
Almost four in ten Americans, 38 percent, currently identify themselves as independents, a Pew Research Center poll found. This is an increase from 32 percent of Americans who considered themselves independents in 2008 and 30 percent in both 2004 and 2000.
Meanwhile, 32 percent consider themselves a part of the Democratic Party, whereas 24 percent say they are affiliated with the Republican Party.
While the percentage of Americans who consider themselves a member of either political party has been shrinking, Pew also found that conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have been on the rise, indicating an increasingly partisan landscape.
This year, 68 percent of Republicans said they consider themselves conservative – a rise from the 60 percent of GOPers who said the same back in 2000. On the other hand, 38 percent of Democrats currently say they are liberal – also a notable rise from just 28 percent of the party that said this 12 years ago.
Meanwhile, independents are most likely to describe themselves as “moderate,” with 43 percent of them describing themselves this way, compared to 30 percent of independents who say they are conservative and 22 percent who say they are liberal.