An overwhelming majority of independents (81%) continue to “lean” toward either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Among the public overall, 17% are Democratic-leaning independents, while 13% lean toward the Republican Party. Just 7% of Americans decline to lean toward a party, a share that has changed little in recent years. This is a long-standing dynamic that has been the subject of past analyses, both by Pew Research Center and others.
In their political attitudes and views of most issues, independents who lean toward a party are in general agreement with those who affiliate with the same party. For example, Republican-leaning independents are less supportive of Donald Trump than are Republican identifiers. Still, about 70% of GOP leaners approved of his job performance during his first two years in office. Democratic leaners, like Democrats, overwhelmingly disapprove of the president.