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Pew: Most Americans Identify As Independents

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37% in fact.

However, the really bad news is for the GOP…

In 5,566 interviews with registered voters conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press during the first two months of 2008, 36% identify themselves as Democrats, and just 27% as Republicans.

The share of voters who call themselves Republicans has declined by six points since 2004, and represents, on an annualized basis, the lowest percentage of self-identified Republican voters in 16 years of polling by the Center.

And here’s more bad news…

The Democratic Party has also built a substantial edge among independent voters. Of the 37% who claim no party identification, 15% lean Democratic, 10% lean Republican, and 12% have no leaning either way.

5% doesn’t look like such a substantial edge at first glance. After all, if Republicans take 3/4 of that 12%, they’d have more of the Independent vote than Dems. But when you look at the overall party indentification and add the Indy vote to both sides, Dems would have 54% to the Republicans 45%. Now THAT is a big gap.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that McCain is going to have to cross over to the center left this Fall if he has any hope of winning. He has already started with environmental issues and his tone on foreign policy on last week’s global tour, but what else does he have in his bag of centrist tricks?