- Democrats’ party advantages among Black and Hispanic adults are at new lows
- Democrats retain smaller advantage among young adults
- Educational gaps continue to expand
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Republican and Democratic parties have distinct strengths within different subgroups of the U.S. population. However, Democrats have lost ground among some of their traditionally stronger support groups while gaining ground with others. This is based on analysis of Americans’ party preferences, which includes those who identify as Democratic or Republican and those who are independent but lean toward either party.
Of particular note,
- The Democratic Party's wide lead over Republicans in Black Americans’ party preferences has shrunk by nearly 20 points over the past three years.
- Democrats' leads among Hispanic adults and adults aged 18 to 29 have slid nearly as much, resulting in Democrats' holding only a modest edge among both groups.
- Whereas Democrats were at parity with Republicans among men as recently as 2009, and among non-college-educated adults as recently as 2019, they are now in the red with both groups.
Only partially offsetting these trends, the Democratic Party has gained adherents long term among college-educated Americans -- those with postgraduate education and those with a college degree only.
These shifts in the party affiliation of key subgroups provide the demographic backstory for how Democrats went from enjoying significant leads over Republicans between 2012 and 2021, to slight deficits in 2022 and 2023. The 27% of U.S. adults identifying as Democrats and the 43% identifying as or leaning Democratic are both new lows in Gallup's trend.
The Democratic Party is generally not seeing major declines among other key groups, including women (who retain a solid Democratic preference), adults 65 and older (who are evenly divided), and White adults (who align with the GOP).
Leaned Party ID by Subgroup in 2023
The largest advantage among demographic subgroups that either major-party group had over the other in party preferences in 2023 is Democrats’ 47-percentage-point lead among non-Hispanic Black adults. Two-thirds of Black adults (66%) identify as Democratic or lean that way, whereas 19% identify as or lean Republican.
Democrats also have strong advantages in the leaned party identification of nonreligious adults, postgraduates and residents of big cities, and they hold a solid nine-point lead among women.
Republicans’ greatest pockets of strength are with people who attend religious services weekly (leading Democrats by 26 points among this group) and residents of towns or rural areas (+25). The GOP holds smaller double-digit advantages among Protestants, White adults, men, non-college-educated adults, residents of the South and semi-regular church attenders.
The following sections show long-term trends in Democratic party-affiliation advantages among some of the key demographic subgroups.
Democratic Advantage at Record Lows Among Black and Hispanic Adults
Although Democrats continue to hold a formidable advantage over Republicans among non-Hispanic Black adults in the U.S., their current 47-point lead is the smallest Gallup has recorded in its polling, dating back to 1999. Most of the decline has been recent, with the net-Democratic ID for this group falling 19 points from a 66-point advantage in 2020. At that time, 77% of Black adults favored the Democrats and 11% the Republicans, so the 2023 findings represent an 11-point decrease in Democratic affiliation since 2020 and an eight-point increase in Republican affiliation.
Similarly, Democrats’ 12-point advantage among Hispanic adults in 2023 represents a new low in trends dating back to 2011, when Gallup began routinely interviewing in Spanish as well as English. Meanwhile, White adults have maintained a 14- to 17-point preference for the Republican Party in most years since 2014. The parties were closer to parity among this large segment of the electorate between 1999 and 2009.
Demographic trend tables showing the full party ID responses for all three racial/ethnic groups from 1999 to 2023, as well as education, age and gender subgroups, can be found at the end of this story.
Education Groups Diverging More Than Ever by Party
Between 1999 and 2013, educational groups showed modest differences in their party affiliation. Since then, and particularly since 2017, when Donald Trump became president, those differences have expanded greatly. U.S. adults with postgraduate education have swung in a decidedly Democratic direction (to +29 Democratic), while those with no college education have flipped from being +14 Democratic in 1999 to +14 Republican in 2023.
As a result of these changes, adults with postgraduate education have become the most Democratic of the four education categories, while those with no college experience are now the least. These two groups now show the largest political divide between the most Democratic and most Republican educational subgroups measured in any year to date.
Young Adults Show Lowest Democratic Support Since 2005
After 2005, when Americans’ party preferences were fairly similar by age, net Democratic party affiliation increased sharply among 18- to 29-year-olds at the same time it leveled off or fell among older adults. By 2010, young adults were the only age category giving the Democrats an edge, and their Democratic orientation remained strong until it fell to just eight points in 2023, the slimmest since 2005.
Adults aged 30 to 49 became more Democratic between 2013 and 2018, but since then have returned to being roughly equally divided. This is reflected in a -2 net-Democratic identification score in 2023, about tied with adults 65 and older, at -1. If these figures hold in 2024, it would be the first presidential election year since 2000 that Democrats haven’t had a double-digit advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds, and the first presidential election year since 2004 that they have been at a deficit among 30- to 49-year-olds.
Meanwhile, for the fourth consecutive year, adults aged 50 to 64 are the least Democratic, leaning Republican by 10 points.
Party Gender Gap Persists, as Men Show Record GOP Leanings
Gallup has long recorded a sizable difference in the party preferences of women and men.
Solid majorities of women have consistently identified as or leaned Democratic since 1999, resulting in net-Democratic party scores for that group averaging +13 over the trend.
Men, on the other hand, have tended to be evenly split or have tilted more Republican in their overall party preferences and leanings.
Both gender groups have shifted in a less Democratic direction in the past few years, with women’s net-Democratic identification shrinking from +17 in 2021 to +9 in 2023 and men’s shifting from -8 to a record-low -15. As a result, the gap between the two groups’ party preferences has remained steady since 2018.
Reflecting the national trend, several key subgroups of U.S. adults showed declining Democratic support in 2023, which in most cases meant an increase in the group’s Republican identification and leaning combined with a drop in Democratic identification and leaning. The major subgroup bucking that is adults with postgraduate education, who have become one of the most Democratic-leaning groups in the U.S.
The data show the Democratic Party retaining advantages among people of color and young adults, but in 2023 it was in a weaker position among these groups than at any point in the past quarter century. Democrats’ reduced support among Black and Hispanic adults should be especially concerning for the party, given Republicans’ continued strength among White adults, who remain the majority of the electorate.
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