Ever since the conventions, even when Obama led in the polls, conservative bloggers have cited the superabundance of surveys showing Romney leading among independent voters. Even Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has noticed this:
President Obama has a problem with independents. And it’s not a small problem.
In the last three releases of the tracking poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Obama has trailed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among independent voters by between 16 and 20 percentage points.
That’s a striking reversal from 2008, when Obama won independent voters, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, by eight points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
And with these voters, Romney has a substantial lead. The most recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows Romney besting Obama by 13 points, 52 percent to 39 percent, among unaffiliated voters. Since 1972, the first year of exit polling, no candidate for president has won election while losing independents by such a wide margin.
What is driving this is, above all, Romney’s growing advantage on who can best handle the economy. The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll gives the Republican a 9-point lead on this issue, which remains the top determinant of most vote choices. The recent Associated Press-GfK poll found Romney with a 6-point lead on the economy among likely voters, as well as an 8-point lead on who can better handle the deficit.
Interesting that Rasmussen, a poll scorend by the left shows Romney with a narrower margin among independents than does the Washington Post/ABC poll, a survey they readily embrace. We don’t know yet what the partisan split will be on Election Day, but it’s looking increasingly likely that it will be more favorable to Republicans than it was in 2008.
The last time it was even, the Republican won the election while losing independents by a point.