A new Gallup poll has made shockwaves this week across political media because it shows a huge shift in support between the two major parties in 2021. Yet there’s an even more interesting finding in this polling that’s going somewhat overlooked.
The headline most ran with after the poll was some variation of “GOP makes big gains in 2021.” And, to be sure, this was one of Gallup’s findings. They found that Democrats went from having a 9-point advantage in the first quarter of 2021 to Republicans having a 5-point advantage in the fourth quarter. That’s a 14-point swing!
This is a big deal, and, from the perspective of Democrats, absolutely calamitous heading into the 2022 midterm elections.
However, there’s more to the story than just this top-line number. You see, the above question forced independents to either “lean Republican” or “lean Democrat.” As former Congressman Justin Amash pointed out on Twitter, when Gallup gave people the option to reject both parties and just identify as independent, a plurality did!
A whopping 42 percent identified as Independent, while just 29 percent went with the Democrats and 27 percent with the GOP.
To be clear, this 42 percent surely includes a lot of people who still mostly vote for Democrats and Republicans. It’s not necessarily evidence of a massive surge in third-party voters. However, it does show us yet again that the American people are sick and tired of the GOP and Democratic establishments.
There are plenty of potential inroads to be made for authentic, principled outsiders who can offer voters real solutions and who aren’t tainted by the establishment’s corruption. Whether this comes from inside one of the two major parties or a third-party alternatives remains to be seen, but the appetite for something different than the failing status quo is absolutely there.