Saturday, May 17, 2008


Year of the Independent Voter---Obama and McCain Appeal to the Non-Partisan (Washington Independent) When Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) all but wrapped up the Democratic nomination last week, the focus of both his and Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaigns is shifting to general election strategies. Unsurprisingly, both are targeting independent voters, which these candidates appealed to this primary season -- McCain, with his almost trademarked maverick persona, and Obama, with his post-partisan message of unity and hope.

Independent voters could be pivotal in November. While membership in traditional parties has weakened in recent decades, independent voters increased -- the number of people registering as "unaffiliated" or "other" since 1987 jumped from 16 percent to 24 percent. For example, in Florida, an important battleground state, the number of "other" voters has more than quadrupled, surpassing 20 percent of the electorate. In another key state, California, since 1988 the percentage of voters "declin[ing] to state" a party preference rose nearly 8 percentage points -- to almost 18 percent.....

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