23% of those polled for the survey identified themselves as Independents, compared with 30.5% who confessed they are Republicans and 39% who admitted they are Democrats. Given that 37% of all adults and 28% of likely voters consistently tell pollsters they are Independents, it may be the case that they are somewhat under-represented in the survey's sample by a margin greater than the poll's margin of error. Nonetheless, 40% of Independents stated outright opposition to the Democratic and Republican parties, while 30% said they are "closer to" the Republicans and 23% said they lean more toward the Democrats. Needless to say, Democrats and Republicans prefer the Democratic and Republican parties by wide margins.
The survey also found that, compared with Republicans and Democrats, Independents are most likely to express independence from religion in addition to party. Asked what their religious preference is, and prompted with a choice of "Protestant, Catholic, Jewish Muslim, some other religion or no religion," 24.4% of Independents stated that they prefer "no religion," compared with 17% of Democrats and 9.5% of Republicans who said they have no religious preference. As a group, Independents are also significantly less likely to profess a religion than the population at large. Overall, 16.2% of the survey's respondents answered "no religion" when asked what their religious preference is.
The survey reports (top-line and cross-tabs) are all available in full at Reason. This week's column at CAIVN unpacks a few more of the poll's findings. Excerpt:
Those who [said they were open to a third party candidate for president] included 89% of Independents, 83% of Tea Party supporters, 86% of Republicans, and even 71% of Democrats! If these results are not simply a statistical fluke, they indicate an increasing openness on the part of the American public to consider political alternatives to the Democratic and Republican parties. A WSJ/NBC poll from May 2010 found that 31% of Americans – a record high at the time – agreed with the statement that the two-party system is broken and a third party would be good for the country. A Gallup poll from September 2010 reported that 58% of Americans thought the Democratic and Republican parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a major third party is necessary . . .