Following up on my recent claim that recent reports of increasing polarization are greatly overstated, Rhodes Cook has a terrific piece in yesterday's Washington Post pointing out that the portion of voters not registering with either political party has increased significantly in recent years:
"In the 27 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have been registering voters by party since 1987, the Democratic share has plummeted 8 percentage points, declining from an aggregate total of 51 percent to 43 percent. The Republican share has stayed steady at 33 percent. But the proportion of voters who have not identified themselves with either of the major parties has jumped 8 percentage points, from 16 to 24 percent."
Of course, party registration is not the same as party identification (what party people identify with as opposed to the party they are registered with) and various surveys show that party identification has become a stronger predictor or voting behavior. Still, Cook is on to something here.