01/06/2011 12:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Democratic Party Identification At 22-Year Low

Only two years after the proportion of U.S. adults who identified themselves as Democrats matched its highest level in 22 years, a new annual survey has found it plunging by 5 percentage points to match record lows over that same period.

The survey, a compilation of 21 individual Gallup polls that included more than 25,000 total interviews, found that only 31 percent of the surveyed adults identified as Democrats over the course of 2010. Two years earlier, 36 percent of respondents in the annual Gallup compilation said they were Democrats.

The percentage of respondents who identify as Republicans did not significantly increase over the same two-year period, however. Twenty-nine percent of adult respondents identified as with the GOP over the course of 2010, versus 28 percent two years prior. Those figures mark a significant drop from 2004, during which 34 percent of the Gallup survey's respondents identified as Republicans.

The downturn in Democratic identification was paired with an increase in independent identification, which had dropped in 2008. Thirty-eight percent of adults identified as independents in 2010.

When those who lean toward one party or another are included in Gallup's tabulations, Democrats hold a 45-44 lead over Republicans, down from a 52-40 advantage in 2008.