The carriage that brought Democrats to the White House and major Congressional gains in the 2008 election may have turned to a pumpkin in 2010 as a new Gallup poll shows only 31 percent of Americans identified themselves as Democrats last year. That's down from 35 percent in 2008 and is the lowest percentage of self-identified Democrats since the polling group started measuring party identification 22 years ago.
But not all those backing away from Democrats are running over to the GOP.
The number of self-identified Republicans only increased one percent, from 28 percent to 29 percent over the same period. Those 2008 and 2010 Republican numbers are some of the lowest in the poll's history.
Despite the low GOP numbers, a separate Gallup poll shows Independents made a dramatic shift from the left to the right between 2008 and 2010.
It shows 45 percent of Independents identified themselves as Democrats or as Democratic-leaning, while 44percent of Independents identify themselves as Republican or Republican-leaning.
That one percent difference in 2010 is the smallest gap among Independents since the two parties were tied at 45 percent in 2003. But more importantly, the numbers represent a dramatic Independent shift from 2008 when Democrats held a record 12 percent lead over Republicans in the same poll.
Gallup says the number of Americans identifying themselves as independents has grown after every midterm election since 1991, meaning the number of independent voters could both increase, and become even more important in 2012.