Switching Parties

AP US Government and Politics

Party identification is sticky, meaning that year after year, most people stay in the same party. What percentage of Americans switched parties in 2017?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story here?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of the fact that so few people switch parties?

  5. Explain whether this story is good or bad news.

  6. What do you think is the main motivation for people to switch parties?

  7. My grandfather switched parties during the Reagan administration. My father in law switched parties during the Obama administration. Do you know anyone who has ever switched parties?

  8. Who was the last major political figure who switched political parties?

  9. What would the party with which you currently identify have to do to make you immediately switch to the other major party?

  10. Over the past year, 22% of people who identified as independents (neither Democrat or Republican) moved towards a political party. Why do you think that change occurred?

  11. What age group do you think is most likely to switch parties?*

  12. Why do you think that is? 

  13. How much did President Trump impact party switching?*

  14. Over the past year, 23% of young Republicans (age 18-29) defected from the party. Why do you think that is?

  15. What is one thing the Republican Party could do to get these voters back?

  16. What question do you have about this data?

  17. Explain whether party switching will become more frequent in the future.

  18. The other day, Donald Trump's Twitter account was deleted for 11 minutes. If political parties were suddenly deleted, but permanently, how do you think this would impact American politics?

  19. Republicans are known as elephants and Democrats, as donkeys. What would be the best mascot for people who switch parties?

  20. Switching Parties sort of sounds like a song title. In the comments section name the artist most likely to record this song:

Learning Extension

Check out this Pew report on party switching.

Action Extension

Find one person who has ever switched parties. Interview them to find out what made them switch. Share your results in class or online.

Visual Extension*

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Adorable Animal Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals In Clothing Extension