Voters fill out their ballots at Mt. Vernon Center in Alexandria, Va., November 8, 2016. After the 2016 election, more Americans identify as independent, according to a Gallup poll. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- An increasing number of Americans identified as independent voters in 2017 while the two major parties are near their all-time low in popularity, according to a Gallup poll.
The poll found that the percentage of Americans who identified as political independents last year increased to 42 percent from 39 percent during the 2016 presidential election year. The percentage of independents increased for the first time since 2014, when the number hit an all-time high of 43 percent.
"The dip in independent identification in 2016 and recovery in 2017 is a typical pattern for a presidential election year and the year after," Gallup said. "Latent partisanship in some independents is likely activated in the highly political environment of a presidential campaign, but fades once the election is over."
But a three-percentage point increase is higher than usual.
"The average over the past eight presidential elections has been a one-point increase, although the increase has tended to be larger since 2005," Gallup said.
The percentage of Americans who identify as independent is near its all-time high and remains the most popular political preference while neither of the major parties appear to be gaining in popularity.
The percentage of Americans who identify as Democrats fell to 29 percent, which tied the party's all-time low it hit in 2015.
Americans who identify as Republicans slipped to 27 percent, which is only two points above its all-time low of 25 percent from 2013.