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WP Fact Checker: Independents Not Important

From Glenn Kessler, the laughable self-described ‘fact checker’ at the Washington Post:

Overselling the importance of independent voters

By Glenn Kessler | November 20, 2012

“Independents are going to decide this race in all of these states. Gov. Romney consistently leads among independents because they’ve seen his message for creating 12 million jobs, real recovery, strengthening the middle class.” — Rick Beeson, Romney campaign political director, Fox News Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

… So what happened? Obama lost independents by a margin of 45 percent to 50 percent — and he still won the election handily.

Indeed, in 2004, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee, won the “independent” vote — 54 percent to 45 percent — and also lost…

Let’s dig into the exit polls and find out what’s really going on.

The Facts

[L]et’s look at what happened to the ideology of the self-described independents, who are also asked about their political leanings. Strikingly, this group has become even more conservative even as the country has moved to the left.

Kessler says "the country has moved left" because there are now supposedly 4% fewer self described moderates in 2012 than there were in 2004. And 4% more liberals.

And he breaks down the Independents this way:

Liberals
2004: 21 percent
2012: 19 percent

Moderates
2004: 56 percent
2012: 50 percent

Conservatives
2004: 23 percent
2012: 31 percent

That is, Independents have become more conservative since 2004 by a rate of 8%.

In other words, in 2012, independents were more likely to be Republican-leaning voters. Perhaps these are Tea Party aficionados. Or maybe they are Republicans who were dissatisfied by the GOP nominee. But in any case, Romney was winning the votes of people who would have been in his camp in the first place. So that’s why capturing the independent vote still left him short.

And how did Obama do among voters with a “moderate” ideology? He crushed Romney, 56 percent to 41 percent.

The Bottom Line

We can’t really hand out Pinocchios in this matter, but just be wary when you hear a political pundit speak about the importance of independent voters.

The “independent” vote is a political chimera — an ever-changing organism that does not shed much light on who is going to win the election. Political ideology is a much better guide to figuring out who is going to be the winner — and the loser.

Besides, Independents have become more conservative. So why even bother to talk about them at all?

Anyway, why didn’t he tell us sooner?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “WP Fact Checker: Independents Not Important”

  1. mr_bill

    “Independent” voters have become more conservative as the GOP nominees have moved left….hmmmm…I wonder what the problem is. Every four years, we have a case of “get drunk and vote for X,” as Ann Coulter puts it, or maybe people aren’t voting at all.

    We’ve tried Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, and Juan McCain; all failed in their presidential elections. All three are fairly boring and fit neatly into the stereotype of “old, rich white guys” that are said to constitute the entirety of the Republican party. Politically, they are boring and don’t strike me as very conservative. It would be refreshing to have a candidate who is conservative, articulate about conservatism, exciting, and engaging. People should want to vote for the candidate, rather than voting against the candidate’s opposition. Next time, let’s try running a real conservative. It worked last time we tried it 30 years ago.

    • captstubby

      ” It worked last time we tried it 30 years ago,
      a candidate who is conservative, articulate about conservatism, exciting, and engaging. People should want to vote for the candidate, ”
      but he learned how to speak when he was a Democrat.
      as was pointed out on this fourm, the Republicans are their own worst enemy during primarys.
      it’s a shame some of the young firecrackers they brushed off will only grow into “The Republican Image.”
      one can only hope that this next election ,when Democrat coalitions implode and start feeding on each other on the mad scramble to crown a new “best President Ever,
      we have more than a Henry Fords menu on car choice.


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