Party identification is the political party that an individual categorizes them self with. Political parties came about as a way to organize citizens with similar beliefs and attitudes. These parties then attempt to influence the government by electing members into office. Today there are two main parties people can identify: Republican and Democrat. There is also a third choice, being an Independent, but for the purpose of this paper this group will not be recognized as a political party. These reasons will be discussed later. There are many different theories as to why people do or do not identify with a political party, including social psychology, issue related, and psychological attachments. I believe the social psychology theory has the right idea. Sociology is about studying human society and how it develops and functions. So, it makes sense that social factors would have a big impact on whether we identify with a political party or not.
With my comment earlier about independent voters, there are a few reasons they shouldn't count as a political party for this paper. First, they have too many different views to find a common identity. Both Republicans and Democrats have a basic set of beliefs and attitudes that make them who they are. Independents are a mix of individuals that have different attitudes, beliefs, positions, etc,. There's no real common goal between Independents. Second, majority of Independents tend to be biased towards one party or the other. "When you narrow it down, look at actual voters, the turnout rate among independents is lower. When you look at actual voters and look at those who are truly uncommitted, you find that you’re down to less than 10 percent of the actual voters (Khan, 2012). On average independents who lean towards a party or “independent leaners” behave like partisans. They tend to be loyal to their party’s candidate during elections (Sides, 2014). These individuals do have a party of choice, they just don't explicitly say it. Lastly, the Independent parties can also act as an escape for some voters. People who don't want to carry the label of one or the other parties may just result to independence to escape judgment. For the reasons above, those who don't take part in politics or declare as Independent aren't relevant to this study because this study it looking at why people do join a party.
Learning what causes people to identify with a political party or not is essential for the future of our government; we need political parties. It's how our system was designed and until that changes, if it ever does, we need political parties. There has been a rise in people not declaring with a party. There is a record-high of 42% of Americans who identify as independents (Jones, 2014). This isn't including citizens who stay out of politics altogether. This is a problem because independents may be more susceptible to the appeals of third-party candidates, elections...