The myth of Independents
January 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Apparently various pundits are at it again talking about the presumably monolithic bloc of "Independent" voters in American politics. John Side is having none of it:
Jon Bernstein beat me to this, but he has other fish to fry with Bai. Plus, I want to yell.
INDEPENDENTS ARE NOT A “VAST MIDDLE GROUND.”
INDEPENDENTS DO NOT COMPRISE MORE THAN “A THIRD OF AMERICANS.”
How many DAMN TIMES must this be said before this MOST BASIC OF FINDINGS — first explicated at length almost 20 YEARS AGO! — sinks into the heads of pundits.
I will keep linking to this post
as long as it takes. To repeat: true, honest-to-God independents are
about 10% of the American population. Declining support for Obama among
independents accounts for less than a fifth of Obama’s overall decline
Follow that last link if you want a nice thorough explanation. The book Sides links to actually was what inspired my dissertation research, i.e., why do so many people say they are "independent" if they are functionally partisans? Answer (in abstract form) here.