Posted on March 8, 2022

What’s the Party Allegiance Breakdown Among American Ad Filterers?

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AAX is getting ready to publish another insight-rich report, filled with fascinating findings gleaned from the vaults that the GlobalWebIndex (GWI) keeps about internet behavior.

We’re interested in all internet behavior, of course, but we’re especially interested in the behavior of the demographic GWI calls “selective ad blocking users.”

Otherwise known as ad filterers, this is a demographic composed of the 95% of internet users that choose to run an ad blocker but have consented to see some ads—like the unobtrusive, respectful forms of advertisement known as “Acceptable Ads.”

We know a few things about these interesting individuals. We know they’re more affluent and more engaged than other groups. We know they spend both more time and more money on the internet.

And now we know about their party affiliation.

When examining the party affiliation among USA-based ad filterers, a few things become immediately clear: the largest percentage (nearly 40%) of ad filterers vote Democrat, and the second-largest percentage (roughly 26%) vote Republican.

But it’s important as well to examine the next three most popular choices: Independent, Undecided/unsure and Prefer not to say. Because those three fields, when added up, make 26.6%—larger than the percentage of Republican ad filterers, and enough to tip the balance in a meaningful way.

Red + Blue = Purple

So what do we know about these independent, undecided, and secretive voters?

One thing that’s been made clear is that many independent voters—especially the younger ones—“focus on issues, not party.” That’s one reason we at AAX have compiled a study that connects “party affiliation” with questions about voters’ stated values and their stance on a variety of issues.

Only slightly more than half of voters ages 18-24 were affiliated with one party in 2020. These voters, it’s suggested, “want[ed] to be involved in the issue, not the ideology.” In other words, they were more interested in the values of the candidate than they were with identifying as a donkey or an elephant.

In general, independent voters of all ages tend to lean towards a party…even if they’re not ready to pledge allegiance to that party, put up lawn signs, go to election night parties at the local Democrat or Republican headquarters, or otherwise absorb that party into their identity.

According to recent Pew Research:

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. (Source)

But, the Pew article goes on to state, the rest of the independent voters are still a wild card, with many of them staying away from political activity altogether, and many more of them keeping their political identity a secret forever.

Whether the trend towards identifying as an independent voter continues upward will remain to be seen, but one fact remains: more than a quarter of the ad filtering demographic are neither blue, nor red…but a shade of purple.