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Sun Jul 22, 2012, 08:39 AM

Larry Sabato: "most people who claim to be independent really are not"

From Politico..

<snip>

While it is fashionable for voters to call themselves “independent” - both in how they respond to surveys or in their voter registration - polling data tell us that most people who claim to be independent really are not. A Gallup survey earlier this year noted that 40% of those polled identified as independents, but after “leaners” toward one party or the other were weeded out, the percentage of real independents was only about 10%. That squares with a more recent report from Ipsos’ Clifford Young, who pegged independents as 11% of the likely voters in the upcoming election. Political science research suggests that the real proportion of independents in the November electorate will be even smaller, perhaps 5% to7%.

Polarization is such a factor in American politics, particularly at the presidential level, that renowned election modeler Alan Abramowitz of Emory University - a senior contributor to our Crystal Ball newsletter - has factored it in to his highly accurate election prediction model. The polarization factor has reduced the advantage typically enjoyed by first-term incumbents, and explains why the recent reelection bids by Clinton in 1996 and Bush in 2004 were closer than fundamentals such as job approval and economic performance otherwise would have indicated. The same factor applies to first-term incumbent President Obama, and Abramowitz’s model projects an achingly close contest.

That’s not to say that all voters are unmovable. Clearly, some voters switched camps from 2004 to 2008, but the “swingy” part of the electorate is small, only a relative handful of every 100 voters. Most of the change from one quadrennium to another comes from variable turnout in the two partisan camps.

http://www.politico.com/arena/

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My comments:

This is interesting as many political analysts claim this election is all about the independents. According to Larry its all about which voters are the most inspired to turnout and vote. Not sure who has the edge on that at the moment. Clearly the RWingers are quite "inspired" to vote against the President but they are clearly not inspired to vote for Romney. Democrats dont seem terribly inspired to vote for the President or against Romney at the moment. However, I think that is going to change as we go closer to election day.


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Reply Larry Sabato: "most people who claim to be independent really are not" (Original post)
DCBob Jul 2012 OP
leveymg Jul 2012 #1
unblock Jul 2012 #2
DCBob Jul 2012 #3
leveymg Jul 2012 #5
DCBob Jul 2012 #7
leveymg Jul 2012 #11
freshwest Jul 2012 #26
Demit Jul 2012 #4
DCBob Jul 2012 #6
WI_DEM Jul 2012 #8
BarbaRosa Jul 2012 #9
Wounded Bear Jul 2012 #10
rufus dog Jul 2012 #12
Odin2005 Jul 2012 #13
graywarrior Jul 2012 #14
CobaltBlue Jul 2012 #15
EmeraldCityGrl Jul 2012 #16
Drunken Irishman Jul 2012 #17
DCBob Jul 2012 #18
CobaltBlue Jul 2012 #19
Drunken Irishman Jul 2012 #24
Xyzse Jul 2012 #20
surrealAmerican Jul 2012 #21
Xyzse Jul 2012 #22
Comrade_McKenzie Jul 2012 #23
Robbins Jul 2012 #25
Kalium Sep 2012 #27

Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 08:46 AM

1. The Independent Voter myth serves the corporate centrists in both parties, who are most alike.

There might as well just be one Demopublican Party permanently in power, but that would spoil the game.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:14 AM

2. an interesting thesis that validates the rove/shrub strategy of appealing only to the base

if partisanship squeezes down true swing voters down to a minimum, then for every 100 potential voters (only half of whom may actually vote), the best electoral strategy is to give up spending spending a lot of money and effort to get 3 instead of 2 votes from the 10 or so of potential voters who haven't made up their minds and to focus on getting 25 instead of 20 from of the 45 of potential voters who are already on your side to actually get out and vote.

which, of course, leads to even more partisanship....

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Response to unblock (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:27 AM

3. Exactly...

which also explains why the Obama camp is also hitting hot button issues for our side... like immigration, womens rights, gay rights, tax fairness, etc.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:46 AM

5. Hence, the bigger picture: campaign to the Left, govern to the Right.

Obama wasted most of the first three years in office trying to create a Washington consensus at the center-right. Now, he's back in campaign mode.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:52 AM

7. The first three years were not wasted.

President Obama's focus was on keeping this country from falling off an economic cliff. If that had happened nothing else would have mattered.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 11:04 AM

11. I'm referencing some of his major initiatives, such as HCR and escalating conflict with Iran

Some policies Obama has ended up with are deeply disappointing or alarming to many progressive Democrats. I'm not saying that his every action has been an entire waste of time or that he hasn't competently managed the economic crisis. It all matters.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 07:32 PM

26. Yes, the GOP fought for hurting millions and the carnage if they get their way won't be reported.

Most of what Obama has done on the priniciple of saving lives has gotten no respect whatsoever.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:33 AM

4. "Most of the change from one quadrennium to another comes from variable turnout"

Yes, and Republicans are hellbent to affect that turnout with their draconian Photo ID laws. They know they can weed out a lot of poor people, students and elderly that way. Who tend to vote guess which party?

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Response to Demit (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:50 AM

6. Yep. The GOPers are trying their best to restrict voters who tend to vote Democratic.

Its disturbing and anti-American. Hopefully our side can show up in sufficient numbers to overcome that.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:53 AM

8. I do agree with him on that--and many so called indies lean right.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 10:09 AM

9. I watch WJ, when I can stand it,

and it is regular as clockwork how most of the 'independent callers slip in to the right wing talking points from the onset.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 10:17 AM

10. Most of the "Independents" I know or know of are righties....

They sometimes claim they will vote 3rd party, but always seem to gravitate to Ron Paul. They don't like it when I call Libertarians Republicans on steroids, which IMHO they are, especially on fiscal issues. I don't really care if they want to legalize pot or allow abortion, they still want to continue this ruinous laissez-faire economic system. That's a deal breaker to me.

Very few Indies I know lean towards the Green or other more 'progressive' parties. Most of them can spout RW talking points with the best of them. They often claim to 'listen to all sides' but the only info they seem to hear comes from Faux Nooze.

If they vote 3rd party and take votes from W Romney, I won't cry about it.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:22 PM

12. The morning after the 2008 election it hit me hard

Look at the vote total for McCain/Palin vs the Bush 2004 vote.

After a complete fiasco of leadership, in the midst of an economic meltdown, there was very little erosion in the totals. The combined effect of Repubs and Indies being disillusoned and staying at home or swithcing to vote for Obama was just over a million.

The difference was the huge turnout from the Dems. IMO, Romney will get back up to Bush levels of turnout so Obama needs to shoot for coming as close to the 08 turnout as possible. (and agree they ain't Indies, they are embarrassed to be a part of their chosen party)

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 01:33 PM

13. The "swing voter" is a Centrist myth.

Most "Independents" are RWers who are too ashamed to call themselves Republicans and low-information center-left voters like my mom who are easily swayed by MSM BS about the deficit.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 02:40 PM

14. I've also been under the impression that independents were right leaning

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 02:05 AM

15. Holding one's own

There are differences between self-identifying Republican, Democratic, or independent from the actual vote.

Exit polling in 2008 shows the breakdown in every state. A party that does a better job holding its self-identifiers will likely take the state.

An example of failure is with the Democratic Party in West Virginia. From that state's first election, in 1864, W.Va. had voted for all winning Democrats except Woodrow Wilson's second election, in 1916, and Barack Obama, in 2008. Reason why Obama didn't have a chance in W.Va., when it came to the vote, was that only 69 percent of the 48% self-identified Democrats actually voted for him to carry their state; meanwhile John McCain garnered 92 percent of the 34% who self-identify as Republicans. And 58 percent of the 19% who self-identify as independent having voted for McCain is why the maverick carried W.Va. by over 13 percentage points (near status quo to 2004 George W. Bush while the country moved nearly 10 points Democratic for Obama).

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 04:11 AM

16. Maybe it's my area...

but many people refuse to identify as Democrat although they are
very Liberal and vote Democrat, caucus and attend general candidate
info meetings. They are simply disgusted with the system and refuse to
declare a party. They remain well informed and while might vote 3rd party
on occasion are inclined not to risk it with the presidential race.
.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 04:35 AM

17. I agree that most aren't - but I disagree with Abramowitz's claim.

For starters, the '96 election was not close. Clinton nearly won by ten-points and soundly beat Dole in the electoral college. Yes, the polls indicated a much larger victory for Clinton, but I think a lot of that was due to apathy in that race. It had one of the lowest turnouts in modern electoral history. Americans just weren't interested and Dole was a boring candidate, so, of course it's possible Clinton's margin was less than his overall support - but because only 49% of the public turned out (compared to 55% in '92 55% in '04 and 56% in '08). Going all the way back to 1960, no turnout was less than what we saw in '96.

So, that explains that.

As for '04, the economy was hit & miss throughout much of '04 and Bush also had a very unpopular war to deal with. The election was close, but we knew it would be close leading up to it because Americans were evenly divided on almost every issue.

Does that mean this election won't be close? Of course not. But Obama also has the benefit of a broader electoral map than Bush. Bush in '04 had to win both Florida & Ohio to win. Obama can lose either and still win. So, it comes down to what we classify as achingly close contest. If Obama wins the popular vote by 1 or 2 points, but wins the electoral college by 68 electoral votes - carrying 303 electoral votes - is it really all that close?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 06:05 AM

18. I agree... the popular vote will be close but the margin in the ec will be big.

I wish more analysts would make that distinction. I think the main reason for this is that the red states will have larger margin of victory for Romney than the blue states for Obama.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 08:34 AM

19. Not so fast . . .

Drunken Irishman writes: Does that mean this election won't be close? Of course not. But Obama also has the benefit of a broader electoral map than Bush. Bush in '04 had to win both Florida & Ohio to win. Obama can lose either and still win. So, it comes down to what we classify as achingly close contest. If Obama wins the popular vote by 1 or 2 points, but wins the electoral college by 68 electoral votes - carrying 303 electoral votes - is it really all that close?


If President Barack Obama is going to get re-elected, history indicates he'll have to flip a state. (Even Woodrow Wilson, the only two-term president with fewer electoral votes with re-election, did that in 1916: he won over Utah which, in 1912, was just one of two states that held for disastrously unseated William Howard Taft.) Since the two major parties first competed in 1856, all those elected to a second term countered their opponents with pickups.

I want to see if Obama is going to win pickups in any of the four on the radar: Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, and Montana. Ariz. and Ga. were raw-vote margins for John McCain just over 200,000; Mont. carried by over 10,000 votes; and Mo. was under 4,000. Can Obama flip any of them? If he can't do so, it's likely three out of the four, or perhaps all four, will be shifting Republican. And if that's the case, just go down the list of states and see which other ones to which that would apply.

As for the theory that losing Florida and Ohio are managable: only one time in the last 100 years did both those states back the losing candidate: 1960, a Democratic pickup year for John Kennedy when Richard Nixon failed to hold the White House for the Republicans. Nixon never lost in Fla. or Ohio. Florida has voted for the winners in all (except 1960 and 1992) since 1928. Ohio has voted for the winners in all (minus 1944 and 1960) since 1896. They're politcally powerful.

If this country decides to fire Obama and hire Mitt Romney, the states are going to fall in line. They tend to do so. And we won't give a damn if Romney has a George W. Bush-like electoral map (which would be my bet) but, instead, we'll do the post-election analyses on why Election 2012 was lost when, as clear as four years ago, there should have been a Democratic landslide re-election for Obama. (Advance warning: A "Democratic" president providing policy and leadership, on numerous issues, as if he may as well have been a Republican was the reason for the losses in 2010. And, with that, an economy that didn't get enough of a stimulus that had most of the electorate, ones who don't follow politics, willing to switch the party occupancy for the presidency.)

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Response to CobaltBlue (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 05:26 PM

24. Your points are cool, but not really valid...

What Woodrow Wilson did 100 years ago is not relevant to this election. Each election acts in a vacuum, really, and what happens in one election doesn't necessarily hold true for the next.

As for Obama winning without winning Florida & Ohio - I never said he would. I said he could theoretically lose either (not both) and still win the presidency - Bush couldn't. Had Bush lost Ohio in '04, Kerry would've won. Likewise, had Bush lost Florida in '04, Kerry would've won. Obama can lose Florida and still win. He can lose Ohio and still win. Hell, and this is unlikely, he can lose both and still win. It's not my prediction, of course, just saying what can and cannot happen.

What you need to do is step back and realize things change and part of that change is the electoral college. Prior to '92, California was a Republican-leaning swing state & Vermont and New Hampshire rarely, if ever, voted Democratic.

Now? All three are solid Democratic states. Just because history says one thing doesn't mean today won't be about the other. In reality, Obama's lead in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Virginia kind of put less weight on states like Florida & Ohio - who both Gore & Kerry needed to win in '04 to have a chance at claiming the presidency. This electoral map is far more diverse than anything Kerry faced four years ago. Because of that, Obama's path to victory is far bigger than Romney's and because of that, the odds of him having a landslide electoral college win is huge, as well.

Just look at the election simulation votes based on state polls:

http://www.270towin.com/simulation/visualizer_2012.php

Obama wins an average of 89% of the time and with more than 300 electoral votes in the average, mean and most common outcome.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 10:17 AM

20. I identify myself as an Independent

Just because I am not willing to be part of either of the 2 clans.
I find myself more left leaning just because the right has lost it and shifted the center waaay far to the right.

Still, I have to actually vote for who I think happens to be the better choice.
Thing is, the past few years, to vote for a Republican has not been a viable choice due to the given policies they espouse.

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Response to Xyzse (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 10:45 AM

21. People who identify themselves as members of a party ...

... also vote for who they think happens to be the better choice. The main difference is the ability to have some say as to what candidates a party nominates.

In states with "open" primaries, it makes no difference.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 11:00 AM

22. Being from MD it isn't an open primary

Does this mean, I should just join the Republican party so that I have a say on who gets to be in their candidates?

I mean, I don't have to worry about Democrats at the moment since they seem a bit more moderate, but if I can influence them to be more moderate, that might be a good thing.

I am saying that tounge in cheek, because I just don't see myself adding an R to me any time soon.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 02:08 PM

23. My dad claims to be Independent...

 

He has voted Republican all his life.

He plans to vote for Obama this year.

He's socially conservative and fiscally liberal now.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 07:01 PM

25. Independents

They are mostly Liberals who don't want to call themselves democrats or Conservatives who don't want to call themselves
Republicans.

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Response to DCBob (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 07:29 AM

27. Larry Sabato: "most people who claim to be independent really are not"

While I don't think that Independent voters are the be all end all of voters I do rather think that many of them are far more ready to vote for any candidate regardless of their label than any voter who has chosen to join a political party. I would agree that there are plenty of voters who want others to think that they are Independent but are in actuality no such thing. In Arizona nearly a third of voters do not register Republican or Democrat and voluntarily either skip voting in partisan primaries or make it substantially more difficult for themselves to vote on partisan primaries. Such an effort indicates to me that such Independent voters are willing to put their effort where their registration is. I don't dispute that motivating party members is quite important.

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