Q&A – Independent Voters in the Midterms? 

Today’s Entry: Hey Brian, a question for you to consider for the Q&A. If you pay attention to the news, you’ll commonly hear about the top issues to voters and then often hear pundits talk about what it all means. What you almost never hear about are the top issues of just the independents who decide close elections. I’d like that information and to hear your analysis of it. Also, what percentage of voters split ballots? Thanks for the info! 

Bottom Line: You make a good point. Most polls are presented as x-percentage of Americans say these are the top issues. But as is well known most Democrats intend to vote for Democrats and most Republicans intend to vote for Republicans. For that matter, even most self-identified independents lean towards one political party or the other. I’ll start the conversation by answering your question regarding split ballots. While we won’t know for sure how many voters will vote split ballots, or vote for members of both major political parties on their ballot, until after the votes are cast, we do know what’s happened most recently. A record low, 4% of voters, voted split ballots in the 2020 election cycle according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Like the percentage of voters who are truly undecided heading towards Election Day, it’s a small number – however it is enough voters to help decide close elections. As for what is animating independent voters the most... 

Morning Consult, which tends to slightly favor Democrats in their polling, does make available a regularly updated online tool to toggle through for specific information they’ve found within their polling. This makes it easy to see what specific demographic groups think about issues and candidates. Going through the divisions on the top issues very much paints a picture of Democrats being from Mars and Republicans from Venus with Independents somewhere in-between. Currently all voters say political the economy is the top issue this cycle. But beyond that, it’s a vastly different outlook. The top three issues for...  

Democrat voters: 

  1. Economy: 72% 
  2. Abortion: 70% 
  3. Gun policy: 69% 

Republican voters: 

  1. Economy: 84% 
  2. Immigration policy: 66% 
  3. Crime: 62% 

And now the Independents you asked about: 

  1. Economy: 79% 
  2. Crime: 58% 
  3. Immigration policy: 48% 

Now in this, what you might call intergalactic, political environment it’s clear the issues independents care about most far more closely aligned with Republicans than Democrats. It’s also somewhat understandable why Democrat campaigns have been so obsessed with abortions. For their base, right next to figuring out how to afford to pay the bills – and just about as important for them, is abortion. To say that Democrats are on a political island of their own is a bit of an understatement. Not even half of independents or Republicans care about the abortion issue in the context of voting this cycle. And that’s not the only way Independents are most closely aligning with Republicans.  

Biden approval nationally: 

  • Democrats: 80% 
  • Republicans: 3% 
  • Independents: 30% 

And in Florida specifically Biden’s approval by party... 

  • Democrats: 83% 
  • Republicans: 3% 
  • Independents: 29% 

You see that in our state our Democrats are even more likely to support Biden, hence the constant cheering from the pink shirt people for Biden supported policies by Crist in Monday night’s debate. You also see independents in our state are even less likely to approve of President Biden than indy’s nationally. Based on this info, which again is from the national pollster which currently is the most favorable for Democrats, it’s evident most undecided/independent voters will likely consolidate behind Republican candidates nationally and especially in Florida.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

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Document: Getty Images

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