The number of Americans who identify with the Democratic Party has fallen steadily since 2008 and the result is that states considered to be in the "solidly Democratic" column has fallen as well -- from 30 in 2008 to 14, according to a Gallup analysis
of its data between Jan. 2-June 30.
Gallup says that 16 states can be considered competitive this year, four more than in 2009 and six more than in 2008.
There are 14 states now considered solidly Democratic based on party identification compared to 24 in the solid column last year and 30 in 2008. The Democrats have nine states in the leaning column, down from 10 last year (but higher than the six it had in 2008).
Republicans have seven states considered solid and five leaning, compared to the four it had in 2008 and 2009. Five states lean Republican compared to one each in 2008 and 2009.
While public identification with the Democratic Party has steadily dropped over the last two years from 52 percent in 2008 to 49 percent in 2009 and 44 percent now, the Republicans have not made headway in getting voters to identify with them. The 40 percent who say they now identify with the GOP compares to 41 percent in 2009 and 40 percent in 2008.
Most of the pickups have been among independents, who do not lean one way or another. Their number was 8 percent in 2008, 10 percent last year and is 16 percent now.
Gallup concluded, based on the numbers, that "the overall result is a more competitive partisan environment this year than has been the case in the last two years, underscoring the potential for Republicans to do well and pick up seats in this year's midterm elections."
Gallup included the District of Columbia in its list of states. For its complete list of states, go here
. Gallup's post also has a map illustrating its findings.
Follow Poll Watch on Twitter