They tell us always "we must have the independent vote!" As if it is the holy grail of elections. And rest assured: independent always means middle aged, middle class, white, suburban men in the MidWest. No matter what the election, they are the ones who must be coveted the most.
But the Obama Campaign has thankfully learned that to win independents one must appeal to one's base. Counter intuitive to the Washington cluster strokers, I know. But it is true.
Anyone who has truly studied indies, like me, knows these three things:
1. Only a third are moderates. Most moderates are Democrats.
2. Only about ten percent are truly swing voters. Most have definite leans and vote the lean consistently.
3. Indies are the least reliable voting block in terms of turnout.
So pundits, like Halperin, can't wrap their heads around why self identified indies are going for Romney and Obama is still winning. The answer is simple: those Romney indies are right leaning Republicans who don't want to be identified as Republicans. This is why the polls keep getting Dem +6 or Dem +8. It is because Democrats are mostly proud to be Democrats and Republicans don't want the stench of George W. Bush on their tunics. They claim to be independent, but they aren't. They're closet partisans:
It is highly unlikely that folks who lean toward either party, and remember the vast majority of independents lean, are going to swing their votes to and fro between the parties. What is likely, however, is that many independents may not be as motivated to vote as strong or weak partisans. To solve this problem, the parties need to motivate them to vote. Since the matrix of issues that motivate independents will more or less coincide with those issues that motivate party partisans, political strategists should do something counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom: To win independents, motivate your base.You're welcome.