Historically, Independents have tended to split their vote for House members between the Democratic and Republican Parties by only a few points. But recently, Independents have become more volatile. In 2006, Independents voted for Democrats by 17 points. But in 2010, they picked Republicans by 18 points. Independents aren’t party loyalists. They swing between the parties— more dramatically now than any time in the past 30 years.
A review of recent public polling confirms the main findings of our 2012 focus groups: this election features a Democratic President with some of his strongest ratings in national security. This is extraordinary after four decades of Republican dominance on security issues.
Set forth below are the most pertinent findings of recent, publicly available, polling data on national security issues. We offer results for Registered Voters (RV) and, where available, for Likely Voters (LV), Independent (IND) and moderate (MOD) voters.
Here’s a flavor:
International Affairs: Independents trust Obama over Romney on international affairs by 9 points.
Afghanistan: 58% of Independents support the President’s troop withdrawal plan.
Libya: 40% of Independents disapprove of the President’s handling of Libya.
Fighting Terrorism: 51% of Independents trust Obama over Romney on handling terrorism.
Debate season is upon us. And everyone wants to know: what do Independents think and who do they trust?
Recent polling demonstrates that Democratic and Republican voters have dug-in—they plan to support their party’s candidate with very little room for movement. But Independents are still up-for-grabs.
Who are these Independents? Which candidate do they prefer on taxes? What do they think about deficit reduction? What’s their take on Social Security? Third Way’s new memo takes a look at what Independents believe—and who they trust—on major domestic policy issues.
With both parties about to head to key battleground states for their National Conventions, the time is ripe to delve into how these states—and 6 other crucial battlegrounds—have changed since the last time around. In our newest analysis of the numbers in the 8 presidential battleground states with partisan voter registration, we find:
Democratic registration is down 800,329, or 5.2%;
Republican registration is down 78,985, or 0.7%; and,
“Third Way, a centrist think tank had done polling on this issue and what they found is independents want an All-of-the-Above approach. That’s not Paul Ryan’s approach. Paul Ryan’s approach is to have tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. That’s not what independents are looking for.” -Kirsten Powers on Fox News
By John McCormick - Jul 9, 2012 8:00 PM ET via Bloomberg.
Independent voters are growing in numbers at the expense of Democrats in battleground states most likely to determine this year’s presidential election, a Bloomberg News analysis shows.
The collective total of independents grew by about 443,000 in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina since the 2008 election, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state election officials.
During the same time, Democrats saw a net decline of about 480,000 in those six states, while Republicans — boosted in part by a competitive primary earlier this year — added roughly 38,000 voters in them, the analysis shows.
“Democrats hit the high-water mark for registration in 2008, so it’s natural that they are going to see some drop off,” said Michelle Diggles, a senior policy analyst with the Democrat-Leaning Third Way research group in Washington who conducted a similar study earlier this year.
The rise of independent voters has had a major impact on recent election results.
Perhaps the biggest myth about independents is that they are closet partisans or “leaners” who are independent in name only but regularly vote with one party. True, about half of independents do fit into this category, but the rest are truly independent; their allegiance swings from election to election. They are persuadable, not polarized partisans. A recent Pew Research Center poll puts the number of swing voters this year at 23 percent — almost a quarter of the electorate.
6 months til election day, and how has the electorate changed? For starters, Independent enrollment continues to soar, outpacing Democratic and, to a lesser extent, Republican registration. 2012 is the year of the Independent voter. To find out more, read our memo “Flight to the Center,” on voter registration in the 8 “swingiest” of swing states: bit.ly/JXv4qm
6 months out from Election Day, how has the electorate changed? Today, we have released the third of our periodic updates on voter enrollment in presidential battleground states. We found that Democratic registration has fallen sharply since 2008, Republican registration is down modestly, and Independent registration has soared.
The long primary slowed the GOP hemorrhaging. But Independents still made the most gains, doubling in the 8 battlegrounds since 1996. Independent voters have also become more volatile, swinging between Democrats and Republicans, resulting in wave after wave election.
With 6 months to go, it’s going to be an interesting ride.
Lawrence O’Donnell, E.J. Dionne, and Jonathan Capehart discussed our brand new poll of Independent voters in the 12 battleground states on MSNBC’s The Last Word. Watch the clip to find out how these important voters feel about President Obama and Mitt Romney.