A Closer Look at the Independent Plurality: the Coming Independent Majority?

The new Pew Research poll on political Independents and the Midterm vote has been widely circulated in the political blogosphere, yet analysis of the survey has been rather superficial, to say the least, with most commentators focusing on the apparent Republican advantage among Independent voters.  Others have added that the Independent vote will prove decisive in this year's election.  But how could it be otherwise?  Independents outnumber Democrats and Republicans.  Compared to Pew's past surveys, a record number of Americans identify themselves as Independents (37%), who now outnumber Democrats (34%) and Republicans (29%):


The survey also inquired into the previous partisan affiliation(s) of individuals who call themselves Independents.  Most independents say that they did not identify as Democrats or Republicans over the last five years (46%), but a roughly equivalent number are either former Democrats or Republicans (22% and 23%, respectively). Asked why they identify as Independents, the majority state that they do not trust either major party; they believe the Democratic and Republican parties pander to special interests rather than represent the interests of average Americans; and they agree with Republicans on some issues and with Democrats on others.  This squares with the group's ideological composition: self-described moderates outnumber conservatives and liberals among Independents, 43% to 36% and 16%, respectively.  



Finally, demonstrating the pollster's inability to think about Independents independently of the frame provided by the Democratic-Republican duopoly form, the poll breaks down Independents into five different subgroups, based on their ideological and demographic profiles: Shadow Democrats, Shadow Republicans, Doubting Democrats, the Disaffected and the Disengaged.

1 comment:

NLW said...

Today’s politicians don’t represent the average American. It's time for a new party Join the Nouveau Elite

 
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