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Posts Tagged ‘Independents’

The Obama Independents

March 1st, 2012

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What do Senators Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman have in common?

Aside from graduating from college in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, not much. Sanders and Lieberman, the only elected Independents in Congress, couldn’t be further apart—Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist and Lieberman was a surrogate for Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain in 2008. Sanders opposes the Keystone pipeline; Lieberman supports it. If you averaged their views, you wouldn’t know anything about their positions on that issue, nor many others.

But that’s how the media and political world assess the key Independent voter bloc today. They lump the Bernie Sanders, Joe Lieberman, and even Ron Paul Independents together and try to make heads or tails out of them. Talking about Independents as a unified group masks internal diversity, making it nearly impossible to draw coherent conclusions about their policy preferences, and offering little insight for how to appeal to these voters.

Instead, prognosticators and strategists should turn their attention to the true swing voters for 2012: the Obama Independents—those Independents who voted for the President in 2008. As it turns out, Obama Independents are a different breed than those who voted for McCain. They are much more ideologically moderate, vastly more ethnically diverse, and most importantly the swingiest of swing voters. In 2008, Obama won 52% of self-described Independents, a level of support that he has not matched in public polling since. To win in 2012 he doesn’t need to win all of those 52%, but he’ll need most of them. And it’s unlikely, based on our study, that he has much upside with McCain Independents.

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Arizona by the Numbers – Surging Independent Enrollment

February 27th, 2012

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In the years since the Obama election, Independent enrollment has surged 20% in Arizona while Democratic and Republican enrollment are both down. Arizona technically has a “closed” primary—meaning that only registered Republicans are allowed to vote in the GOP race. But the rules allow voters to switch their enrollment up to 2 days before the balloting. In 2008, 18% of those who voted in the GOP primary called themselves Independents. Whether sizable numbers of Independents will make the switch by Tuesday is unknown, but one thing is clear: come November, Arizona Independents will decide the state.

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How the Democrats can stay relevant

November 4th, 2010

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

After sweeping to congressional majorities in 2006 and electing a president in 2008 with the largest Democratic percentage of the popular vote since Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrats are now in danger of becoming an irrelevant party.

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Focus on the Mission: Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

March 5th, 2010

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.

They serve in Iraq. They fight in Afghanistan. Their names are etched in marble at Arlington National Cemetery. And three out of four Americans believe they shouldn’t be forced to lie to serve the country for which they are prepared to die.

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