The Gallup organization reported its latest findings on party identification late last week, and the report contained good news for the Democrats and a flashing yellow for Republicans.
The Democrats “have regained an advantage” over the GOP in party affiliation, Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones wrote in an accompanying analysis. Republicans, he added, “have seemingly lost the momentum they had going into last fall’s elections.”
The current numbers don’t mean Republicans can’t win the White House in 2016. The Democrats’ advantage is not as large as at other points in the past, for example. But the findings add to a series of data points that underscore the challenges ahead for a party trying to keep pace with a rapidly changing country.
The latest numbers essentially mark a reset that returns party affiliation to its modern historical norm. Democrats long have enjoyed the advantage over Republicans in Gallup’s measures.
In those few periods when the GOP drew even or slightly ahead (after Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 or after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001), the party has been unable to hold that ground for long.