How Many Americans Are Truly "Independent"?

In recent years, I’ve pointed out that independents really aren’t all that “independent”. They just typically don’t like to ID with a particular political party. Come Election Day however, most break a very predictable way. In recent cycles, I ID’d approximately 8% of voters who are truly toss-ups entering cycles. As we’re beginning to wade into the 2020 cycle here’s what the real indy number looks like. 

Based on the latest from the Pew Research Center, that number is setting up to be even lower this cycle. According to their findings, 38% of voters ID as independent but only 7% don’t have a party preference. So, there you have it. 

Now, 7% is a significant percentage when it comes to tight elections, but the bottom line is that more than nine in ten voters already know how they’re going to break without even knowing who the candidates are that point. Really, the greatest chance for variance would be discouraged voters. If turnout is lower for a particular partisan group due to a lack of enthusiasm for a candidate or candidate(s), that could potentially have as big of an impactashow “independent” voters break next year.

Photo by: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

 

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