Chart of the day: the non-rise of political independents

Seth Masket makes a nice counter-point in response to a piece about the “rise of independent voters.”  Well, actually, not so much:

Rather, the percent of Americans who describe themselves as independent is on the rise. The percent of voters who do so is not. Here’s some evidence from the American National Election Studies from 1952 to 2012, charting the percent of Americans who describe themselves as independent:

If you separate those who voted in the most recent election from those who did not, you see two very different trends. Non-voters increasingly are calling themselves independent, while the percent of voters who call themselves independent has been flat for four decades.

It presumably has some importance that this is happening, but as for significant political implications, the fact that this movement is restricted to non-voters means there’s no reason to expect political parties to respond.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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