A recent NBC poll confirms that the partisan political environment is, in fact, taking a toll on the two major parties, with voter registration revealing that self-identified independents are the fastest growing voting bloc in America.
NBC commentators coin it “the rise of an 'independents’ era,” reporting that in 2014 the number of people self-identifying as independent was at 39 percent, passing that of Democrats (32 percent) and Republicans (23 percent).
As of June 2015, the number of self-identifying independents has grown to 45 percent -- just 2 points shy of the number of Democrats and Republicans COMBINED.
"The largest political party in the United States in no longer a party at all,” NBC commentator Chuck Todd reports.
"In the 31 states plus the District of Columbia where voters have to pick a party when registering to vote, unaffiliated or no party voters are now the leading political party in 12 of those state, and in a few of them, they are the majority of all registered voters." - Chuck Todd, NBC News
In Florida, a major 2016 battleground state, the number of independent voters has grown by one million voters in the last 10 years. Democrats have only seen an increase of 300,000 voters, and Republicans lag with just 200,000 additional voters in the same time period.
What does this mean for 2016? Candidates will have to start listening to the nation's increasingly independent-minded electorate if they want to distinguish themselves. The only issue is, do they know how?