According to a recent Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who are registered or lean toward the Republican Party rose six points to 45 percent, versus 46 percent Democrat, in a poll that was taken from January through March 2010. That is the narrowest margin since 2005, when the two parties were tied at 46 percent.
The six-point rise in Republican support since the first quarter of 2009 is due entirely to a growing proportion of independents who lean to the Republican Party, rather than an increase in the percentage of Americans who identify as Republicans outright. (Gallup measures party identification by first asking Americans whether they identify as Republicans, Democrats, or independents. Those who are independent or express no party preference are then asked whether they lean more toward the Democratic or the Republican Party.)