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Party Identification in the 2008 Presidential Election



In the 2008 presidential election cycle, data from the National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES) showed that the gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans widened from where it was after the 2004 presidential election. The Democratic edge grew from nearly 4 points in the 2004 NAES to almost 9 points in the 2008 NAES. This change reverses the trend, observed since the 2000 NAES, showing a narrowing of the gap. This article tracks the national trend from October 2007 through the November 2008 presidential general election to show that party self-identification fluctuated during the 2008 election season. Using both the 2008 NAES telephone rolling cross-sectional survey and the 2008 NAES Internet Panel, the authors document this national trend and show where the shifts occurred demographically and regionally. Additionally, the authors examine shifts among self-identified 2004 Bush and Kerry voters who participated in the 2008 National Annenberg Election survey—looking at whom they voted for and whether they switched party identification.