“We are coming off two generations of adults who defined themselves by their affiliations and labels (and) into several successive generations that define themselves by their individual decisions and philosophies,” said Todd.

So must-have labels of the past, such as Calvin Klein jeans, Budweiser beer or the tug between whether you were a Coke or Pepsi drinker, have given way to off-brand jeans that are bought for style and fit, neighborhood microbreweries that are popping up all across the country and competing high-energy juices that have replaced the cola wars.

In short, because people avoid labels at all cost in their shopping carts, it only makes sense that they would avoid partisan labels.

While the Gallup data seem to suggest that fewer Democrats than Republicans now call themselves independents, a bit of nuance is at work here: Several pollsters note that their data show those who were Republicans and now call themselves independents are nearly all self-identified conservatives — but are not all tea partyers.