Note: I spent most of Tuesday morning at the U.S. Federal Courthouse for jury duty. I was not selected, so I am back in the saddle today. Yes, there will be a future column about my adventure.
In political campaigns most strategists contend that if you maintain your base of support (the party faithful) and draw votes from the middle, the candidate who can draw the most people from the middle – the independent voter – will win the contest.
Almost every campaign consultant and manager pretty much knows how many people identify themselves as independents in a particular state, district, and precinct. These are the people they need to win the race.
The number of independents is growing. According to Gallup:
Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.
It looks like many of those identified as political independents came from the Republican Party, so that means that some Republican candidates will need more independent votes to win races. Gallup also reports:
Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.
I think the Republicans can probably blame the Tea Party for their losses. It appears since the Tea Party has taken over more and more of the Republican Party, we have seen an exodus of moderates. There’s no place to go but the independent route.