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Why the Independent vote matters (particularly in swing states)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - October 31, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Readers of this blog know that I have regularly posted about polls showing Mitt Romney enjoying a sizable advantage among independent voters — even when he was running behind President Obama in national surveys.

I believe that this is significant because the candidate who wins the independent vote tends also to win the election.  Ace summarizes  why the independent vote is particularly significant swing states:

It’s very simple: Swing states are swing states because neither party has much of a lead in the states. The outcome of any election, then, depends heavily on which way Independents vote.

. . . .

Any state in which Obama loses Independents by six, eight, or ten points but somehow — as these polls claims — wins the state anyway are not “swing states,” almost by definition.

No wonder Ace cried foul on the slew of surveys from Quinnippiac this morning.  They all found Obama losing independents, sometimes by lopsided margins (21 points in the Old Dominion).  In California, a loss of that magnitude would likely only reduce Obama’s margin of victory to the single digits, but in a state with the parties at – or near – parity that advantage could make all the difference.

Th “swing” states, however, have a far greater percentage of Republicans (percentage-wise) than does the once-Golden State.  That is why, as Jennifer Rubin, reports, the independent vote cheers team Romney:

[One] “indisputable and near universal polling fact in the presidential race: Mitt Romney is winning big among independent. The conservative polling and research firm Resurgent Republic released its final batch of polling, finding Romney leads President Obama among Independents by a 51 to 39 percent margin nationally. By comparison George W. Bush won independents by 2 points in 2000 and lost independents by one point in 2004.

Emphasis added.



  1. You know, a lot of us registered independents are conservatives who quit the GOP in disgust during the Bush years.

    Comment by V the K — October 31, 2012 @ 7:47 pm - October 31, 2012

  2. […] I blogged about why the independent vote matters, particularly in swing states.  Today, I had the chance to look at Resurgent Republic’s memorandum documenting the trends […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Independent voters dissatisfied with Obama, think county is on wrong track — November 1, 2012 @ 5:23 pm - November 1, 2012

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