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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Jobless Benefits Extension Popular With Independents

Here we go again with the talking about ‘independents’ as if they had a coherent, unified ideology. Writing at Dailyfinance.com, Pallavi Gogoi describes independents as “an important, influential and powerful voting bloc,” disregarding the fact that Independents have varied political leanings. Some are too liberal for both major parties, some are too conservative, while others see themselves as right in the middle between them. Still others simply dislike both parties, and many others don’t have a clue about what either party stands for.
Golgoi does, however, cite a useful statistic of particular interest to Democrats, the fact that 59 percent of Independent respondents in an ABC News/Washington Post poll support extending unemployment benefits (compared to 80 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans). She points out that in March, 12 percent of Independents were unemployed, compared with 11 percent of Democrats and 6.5 percent of Republicans, according to a Gallup poll analysis prepared for DailyFinance.
In other words, Republican leaders bad-mouthing and/or opposing the extension of unemployment benefits may be scoring points with the arch-conservative element of their constituencies. But a healthy majority of the politically-amorphous group self-identified as Independents, and even 43 percent of Republicans, think they are wrong. Democrats would be wise to emphasize the extension of jobless benefits as critically important to the economy, as well as to the jobless, in a series of nation-wide ads.

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