Political Parties: A Convention Primer

As the 2012 party conventions approach, the Democratic Party continues to maintain an advantage in party identification among voters, but its lead is much smaller than it was in 2008.

In more than 13,000 interviews conducted so far in 2012, 35% of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28% with the Republican Party and 33% as independents. The share of Democrats has fallen three points since 2008, while the proportion of Republicans has remained steady.

When the leanings of independent voters are taken into account, the closing of the Democratic advantage is even more noticeable. Currently, independents lean slightly more toward the Republican Party than the Democratic Party (15% vs. 13%). Four years ago, the reverse was true (13% leaned Democratic, 11% Republican).

Read the full report, Political Parties: A Convention Primer, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.