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Who or what is an independent voter?

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2017 10:20 pm
In todays politics there are constant opinion polls taken on various political topics. Many of these opinion polls are broken down by three voting blocks. Republican, Democrat, and Independent. My question is who or what is an Independent?
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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 1,376 • Replies: 20
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2017 10:51 pm
@Real Music,
It is a registered voter that hasn't declared a party affiliation. In many states, that means they can't vote in the primaries of either party.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2017 11:06 pm
@roger,
Quote:
It is a registered voter that hasn't declared a party affiliation. In many states, that means they can't vote in the primaries of either party.
Yes that is the literal definition.

Are independent voters liberal, conservative, progressive, left, right, in the middle, moderate, far left, far right, socially conservative, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, fiscally liberal, or something else?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2017 11:16 pm
@Real Music,
Maybe fed up with existing parties. Maybe just confused.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jun, 2017 12:57 am
@roger,
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/05/5-facts-about-americas-political-independents/
Quote:
5 facts about America’s political independents

The share of independents in the United States stands at its highest point in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. However, a substantial majority of independents have not fully declared their independence from the two major parties. Most say they “lean” toward a party. As we found in our recent study on political animosity, partisan leaners don’t have especially positive views of the party they lean toward, yet they feel very negatively about the opposing party. Nevertheless, partisan leaners share many of the political values of – and tend to vote similarly to – members of party they lean toward.

Here are five facts about political independents.

1 Share of political independents has continued to growIndependents outnumber either Democrats or Republicans. A Pew Research Center analysis that examined partisan affiliation from 1992 to 2014 found that, in 2014, 39% of the public identified as independents, which was larger than the shares calling themselves Democrats (32%) or Republicans (23%). In 2004, roughly equal shares identified as Democrats (33%), independents (30%) and Republicans (29%).

However, most independents express a partisan leaning: In 2014, 17% of the public leaned toward the Democratic Party while 16% leaned toward the GOP; just 6% declined to lean toward a party. When the partisan leanings of independents were taken into account, 48% either identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic; 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican.

2 Push and pull factors into partisan leaning, but ‘push’ matters moreThe most frequently cited factor for leaning toward a party is the harm caused by the opposing party’s policies. A majority of Republican leaners (55%) and roughly half of Democratic leaners (51%) cite the other party’s policies being bad for the country as a major reason why they lean toward their own party. By contrast, just 30% of Republican leaners and 34% of Democratic leaners say that their own party’s policies being good for the country is a major reason why they lean toward their party.

Why do Republican leaners choose not to identify as Republicans? About half (52%) say a major reason they do not affiliate with the party is their frustration with its leaders; 40% say it is because they disagree with the party on important issues.

Among Democratic leaners, no single reason stands out. A third say a major reason they do not identify as Democrats is that they disagree with the party on key issues, while 28% cite frustration with the party’s leadership.

3 Fewer than half of partisan leaners rate members of their own parties warmlyIndependents who lean toward a party do not feel very warmly toward its members. When asked to rate Republicans and Democrats on a 0 to 100 “feeling thermometer” – where 0 is the coldest, most negative rating and 100 is the warmest, most positive rating – partisan-leaning independents are not very warm toward members of their own party. Fewer than half of Democratic leaners (45%) give a warm rating (more than 50) to Democrats; even fewer Republican leaners (38%) feel warmly toward Republicans.

Not surprisingly, majorities of partisans give warm ratings to their fellow partisans. Three-quarters of Democrats (75%) and two-thirds of Republicans (67%) give warm ratings to the members of their party.

But partisans and leaners are more in sync in views of those in the opposing party. Comparable majorities of both Democrats (61%) and Democratic leaners (55%) give Republicans cold ratings on the thermometer. About seven-in-ten Republicans (69%) and 57% of Republican leaners rate Democrats coldly.

4 Partisan animosity has increased sharply among independents as well as partisans. For the first time in surveys dating back more than two decades, majorities of Republicans (58%) and Democrats (55%) say they have a very unfavorable view of the opposing party. In 1994, fewer than half as many Republicans (21%) and Democrats (17%) expressed highly negative views of the other party.
Steep growth in highly negative views of opposing party among partisans, leaners
But the rise in partisan animosity has not been limited to partisans. Intense dislike of the opposing party has risen sharply among independents and others who lean toward a party. Today, 44% of Republican and Democratic leaners say they have a very unfavorable impression of the opposing party, up from just 10% and 11% respectively in 1994.

5 Increasing shares of independents and partisans express ideological views on major issues. Pew Research Center’s major study of political polarization in 2014 found a rise in ideological attitudes among both Republicans and Democrats over the past two decades. The same trend is evident among independents who lean toward one party or the other.
More Republican leaners have conservative attitudes across major issues; Democratic leaners increasingly express liberal views
In 2015, 59% of Republicans – and 45% of Republican-leaning independents – expressed consistently conservative or mostly conservative attitudes across a series of 10 questions on political values that Pew Research Center has been asking since 1994. In 2004, just 35% of Republicans, and 24% of GOP leaners, had at least mostly conservative opinions on these issues, which include the environment, the role of government, national security and social issues.

The positions of those who identify as Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are similar over this time period: In 2015, 62% of Democrats and 56% of Democratic leaners were consistently or mostly liberal. When the two groups diverged in 2004, Democratic leaners (58%) were actually somewhat more likely than Democrats (46%) to be to the left of center.
0 Replies
 
puzzling
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 10:43 am
@Real Music,
It means I don't identify with any party...but after that Russia hoax, the Comey thing, Hillary's corrupt ways...I fully identify with Republicans/conservatives, especially when Obama did the travel ban 6 times under his presidency and yet, I didn't see all these airports get in a rage about it the way they're trying to delegitimize Trump. Conservatives/Republicans are more tolerant of different thinking people than the left are.

If this is the way one will be treated just because I don't think like a liberal, no thanks and not my party.

Full conservative/Republican.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 02:26 pm
@puzzling,
I ask the question who or what is an independent voter, because I believe true independents are a very small percentage of the voting public. At least that's my observation. Through my personal observation (virtually) all of the voters who called themselves independents are not truly independents. Through my observation most people who call themselves independents are actually independent democrats or independent republicans.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 04:17 pm
@puzzling,
Quote:
after that Russia hoax, the Comey thing, Hillary's corrupt ways...I fully identify with Republicans/conservatives, especially when Obama did the travel ban 6 times under his presidency and yet, I didn't see all these airports get in a rage about it the way they're trying to delegitimize Trump. Conservatives/Republicans are more tolerant of different thinking people than the left are.

If this is the way one will be treated just because I don't think like a liberal, no thanks and not my party.

Full conservative/Republican.
I disagree with what you have posted. But, what you have posted does support my claims that most people who call themselves independents are not truly independents. You used the word "after". What were you before? Based on your post, I would conclude that you were never truly an independent. You were probably always a republican, even if you were calling yourself an independent. By the way I am a democrat.
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 04:27 pm
@puzzling,
When I moved to Albuquerque, I signed up as Independent, as I took myself as more left than a lot of Democrats, probably bottom of the barrel's left side but not a crazed troublemaker. I quickly got over that self evaluation so I can vote in the primaries. I guess I was working on distinguishing myself - in my mind - from mild democrats, people who have a general gist but don't spend a lot of time reading or helping out.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 04:34 pm
@ossobucotemp,
Quote:
When I moved to Albuquerque, I signed up as Independent, as I took myself as more left than a lot of Democrats
Some people have this misconception that independents are politically in the middle. True independents who don't consider themselves as left or right are probably a tiny percentage of voters. People who call themselves independents are often far left or far right.
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jun, 2017 04:39 pm
@Real Music,
I'll agree. But, only the Phantom knows..

*old radio program
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 05:34 am
@Real Music,
Quote:
Through my personal observation (virtually) all of the voters who called themselves independents are not truly independents.

I believe you are making way too much of the term, "independent". In this context it merely means that a voter is not enrolled in a political party. Of course they will vote for a Republican or a Democrat at times but that doesn't mean they wholeheartedly endorse one party or the other. It probably means there were only two candidates running and one candidate was deemed marginally acceptable.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 05:41 am
@Real Music,
An informed voter that votes on polecy not on parties.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 12:03 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
An informed voter that votes on policy not on parties.
I don't necessarily believe that to be true. I consider myself to be an informed voter. Voting on policy is for the most part synonymous with voting on political parties. Each political party has their own platform detailing their policy beliefs. Each of the political parties candidates for the most part share the beliefs of their party's platform. If an individual voter for the most part believe in a party's platform, it makes sense to vote for that party.

So, in reality voting on parties is pretty much the same as voting on policy. If for the most part an individual voter believe in policies on the left, it would make no sense for that individual to vote for any candidate or political party on the right. If an individual voter for the most part believe in policies on the right, it would make no sense for that individual to vote for any candidate or political party on the left.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 12:24 pm
@hightor,
Quote:
In this context it merely means that a voter is not enrolled in a political party. Of course they will vote for a Republican or a Democrat at times but that doesn't mean they wholeheartedly endorse one party or the other. It probably means there were only two candidates running and one candidate was deemed marginally acceptable.
Yes, I agree with you. I'm just making a point based on my personal observation. That point being that (virtually) every voter is really on the left or really on the right regardless of what they may call themselves. Through my personal observation there is only a very small percentage of voters who can truly say that they are neither on the left or the right. I've observed that it is rare to find a voter who is all over the political spectrum. Far left on some policies, far right on some policies, center right on some policies, center left on some policies, in the middle on some policies. In other words, it is super rare to find someone who is truly independent, regardless of what they call themselves.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 02:53 pm
Some have referred to me as an independent voter.

Since the start, I have looked at each candidate and made my decision based on who I figured could and would do the best job. When in comes to Presidential elections, I went from Carter in '76 to Anderson in '80, then Mondale, followed by Dukakis, then Clinton, then skipped '96 because neither Dole nor Clinton seemed right, went with George W. In 2000 & 2004, missed '08 as I was in the start of a health issue, 2012 I was at a loss again, but leaned in on a third party, 2016 I skipped as I live in a Hillary state and my vote would not change that outcome and there was no way I'd vote for Trump. I had liked Sanders, still pissed that the Dems played games and made sure nobody would disturb Hillary's road to the White House. (So we didn't gets chance at Biden either).

Other items: in the '76 primaries I was a supporter of Frank Church and in '92 my support went towards Paul Tsongas. My first registration as a voter was Conservative, a short time later, I switched to Democrat. This was not so much because I hold their platform in high regard, but, rather it was because it offers some leverage and say in the primaries of each race (president, senator, congressman, governor, mayor, locals).

Again, I vote for a candidate and have never yet voted for a particular party all the way from top to bottom on a ticket. So, independent or not? Some say yes, some aren't so sure.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 03:07 pm
@Real Music,
Real Music wrote:
True independents who don't consider themselves as left or right are probably a tiny percentage of voters. People who call themselves independents are often far left or far right.


Well, by British standards I consider myself an independent right now and am so because my views lie between those of the two major parties. By American standards I'm solidly a Democrat.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 03:10 pm
I identified mostly as a Democrat, despite the fact I did not like Kennedy and Johnson. Reagan made me yearn even more for a Democrat and so I enthusiastically voted for Bill Clinton. By the end of his first term I was disillusioned. The guy is a Republican in blue. By the end of Obama's terms, I was still more disillusioned. At that point, the Democrats had lost most state and federal positions and as he stepped from the scene, the Republicans owned virtually all of government. And the Democrats had the audacity to strong arm the primaries to make sure there was no real contest where the liberals and Bernie Sanders were concerned. It had become obvious that the Democrats are as much vassals of big money as Republicans. I finally made the break from the Democrats as I had done long ago with the other party. In Texas one does not have to register with a party to vote. I could vote either party if I so choose. If a liberal does not get nominated in the next presidential election, I will once again vote third party.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 04:04 pm
@Real Music,
They are either mainly liberal or mainly conservative but want to preserve a conceit that they are independent

The only people I can imagine who warrant the independent label are libertarians whose views may be considered both liberal and conservative.
kk4mds
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jun, 2017 06:55 pm
@Real Music,
I am registered as an independent, and I am a liberal. However, if you are looking for a group definition of the political views of independents, you are out of luck. Independents are individuals, each with a personal views. While there may be a tendency towards one side or the other, no one can speak for all.
0 Replies
 
 

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