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Poll: 2 Major Parties Hold Sway But Dislike Is High

Poll: 2 Major Parties Hold Sway But Dislike Is High

By Adam O'Neal - July 7, 2014

Most Americans align with either the Democratic or Republican Party, according to a new AP/GfK poll. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy with their options. 

About 60 percent of respondents in the survey identify as either Republican or Democrat; the proportion rises to 80 percent when those who “lean” toward each party are included. 

Yet, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of both parties, and roughly one-third said they didn’t trust either party to handle basic functions of government or address concerns of “people like me.” In fact, 25 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats say they dislike their own party. 

So why do the two major parties remain dominant? 

According to the survey, “a mix of inertia, preference for one side's policies over the other and feeling that one can depart from the party line when necessary” drive these affiliations. Few, however, are willing to acknowledge supporting one party out of dislike for the other.

Interestingly, the poll found that over the last decade, Americans have become more likely to identify the GOP with conservatism and the Democratic Party with liberalism -- suggesting an increasing polarization. 

The survey of 1,354 adults was conducted May 16-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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