Hey Kids–Independents Are Not Independent!
At least the great majority of them. There are a ton of people who will say they’re independent at first blush–more than admit to identifying with the Democrats or Republicans. But, as political scientists established long ago, this large group of independents in deceptive. Overwhelmingly, independents admit they lean toward one party or another and by and large these “leaners” act a great deal like those who admit they are partisans. The truly independent it turns out are a tiny group (see the graphic).
Pew’s new report on this is detailed and up to date. To the points just made:
“An overwhelming majority of independents (81%) continue to “lean” toward either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Among the public overall, 17% are Democratic-leaning independents, while 13% lean toward the Republican Party. Just 7% of Americans decline to lean toward a party, a share that has changed little in recent years. This is a long-standing dynamic that has been the subject of past analyses, both by Pew Research Center and others….
Those who do not lean toward a party – a group that consistently expresses less interest in politics than partisan leaners – were less likely to say they had registered to vote and much less likely to say they voted. In fact, just a third said they voted in the midterms.”