PRINCETON, NJ -- In many respects, the demographic profile of Democrats nationwide is similar to what it was in 2008, although Democrats have become somewhat less white and more liberal than the party that nominated Barack Obama as its presidential candidate that year. As a group, Democrats are more likely than average to be women and nonwhite, less likely to be religious or married, much less likely to be conservative, and much more likely to be liberal than the U.S. population as a whole.
These results are based on a special Gallup analysis of the demographic and ideological composition of the U.S. population today (based on Gallup Daily tracking from June-August 2011) versus the start of 2008 presidential election campaign (from January-March). This is a follow-up to Gallup's earlier piece on the composition of the Republican rank-and-file.
For this analysis, the Democratic population is defined as those who either identify as Democrats or who identify as independents but say they lean toward the Democratic Party. Between the start of 2008 and today, the percentage of Americans identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic has fallen from 50% to 43%. The percentage identifying as Republicans has risen from 37% to 40%, while the percentage of "pure" independents who do not lean toward either party has gone from 12% to 15%. The years 2006-2009 were recent high points in net Democratic affiliation, whereas the current figures showing a close split between Democrats (43%) and Republicans (40%) are more in line with the pattern that was in place between 2001 and 2004.