Poll: U.S. whites more solidly Republican in recent years

The net Democratic advantage represents the percentage of each racial/ethnic group identifying as Democratic minus the percentage identifying as Republican. Positive scores indicate that a group is more Democratic than Republican; negative scores indicate the reverse. The full trends in party preferences for both racial groups are shown on page 2.

The trend lines in white and nonwhite party preferences often move in the same direction, but with a sizable gap maintained between them. For example, both racial groups drifted in a more Republican direction from 2001-2003, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Whites and nonwhites became increasingly Democratic in the last years of the Bush presidency, with whites as likely to favor the Democratic Party as the Republican Party from 2006-2008. Since 2009, whites and nonwhites have trended more Republican.

In recent years, party preferences have been more polarized than was the case in the 1990s and most of the 2000s. For example, in 2010, nonwhites’ net party identification and leanings showed a 49-point Democratic advantage, and whites were 12 percentage points more Republican than Democratic. The resulting 61-point racial and ethnic gap in party preferences is the largest Gallup has measured in the last 20 years. Since 2008, the racial gaps in party preferences have been 55 points or higher each year; prior to 2008, the gaps reached as high as 55 points only in 1997 and 2000.