A recent Pew Research Center report took a detailed look at these Americans. Among other things, it illustrated that independents have lower levels of political participation and are demographically different from those who affiliate with a party – and that their views are often as divided as those of self-identified partisans.
Many we know don’t trust polls, after all, most polls were wrong in the 2016 US presidential elections. But is this true? Look at YouGov 2016 pre-election presidential polls, and they were 100% correct – they were all within the margin of error advertised. The problem was the analysis of the polls and their reporting. Ignore polls at your peril.
So we are going to look at the Pew poll of independent voters, not to challenge the data, rather see if we can put it into a proper analytical perspective. It does us no good to pretend – rather face facts as they are and deal with them. This is important because if we ignore factual data, our political strategy would be wrong, and hence could cause us to act incorrectly.
We reproduce the main view of the independent voter poll in the inset chart but do read the full report. As Pew did, we will break it down in our view the main two takeaway points, as well as suggesting an action response to those specific independent voters:
1) Democrats are losing faith – There are 38% that identify as politically independent, but most “lean” toward one of the two major parties. Only 7% of Americans overall don’t express a partisan leaning, while 13% lean toward the Republican Party, and 17% lean toward the Democratic Party.
Looking at the historical trend, more Democrats have moved to be independents than Republicans, though still lean Democrat. This most likely is due to the Democratic party moving further left than their constituency and minority voters increasingly growing disillusioned with Democratic policies that have not changed their lot in life over recent times. Republicans leaning independents have held steady. These Democratic-leaning voters could be fertile grown to search for Republican voters.
Action – faithless independent Democrats can be won over two ways. Raising the fears of far-left policies that could damage the country. Some of these include; the rise of socialism, identity politics, loss of rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and government corruption. On the positive side would be to continually demonstrate the gains made with the solid economic growth and the less intrusive foreign policy.
For faithless independent Republicans, these voters need to be reminded that, though perhaps you prefer another candidate or troubled by Trump’s Tweeter gun, President Trump is the vehicle to maintain the White House – so get back on board the train, or suffer the consequences of a potential far-left Democratic win. In the comment section, please add your thoughts.
2) Many independents are apathetic – particularly the 7% of Americans who don’t lean toward a party and are less politically engaged than partisans. Independents also feel more negatively about political candidates and parties than partisans. They also tend to be younger, which is understandable – were you really thinking about politics when you were young – e.g., sports, dating, career, etc…
Action – though we should encourage everyone to vote, we should stimulate those specifically that want to take responsibility for the direction of the country in terms of longer-term positive policies, rather than emotive based voters. Emotive based voters tend to vote Democratic.
If the independent voter is only 7% of the total voters, why would we care? Regardless of who wins in 2020, the US electorate is extremely divided. Many have already made up their minds even a year out before the election. So it will be a battle for the independent voter.