Sunday, May 08, 2011

In a Two-Party Bicycle Race, Independents Are Key

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Cartoons by ULIV founder Randy Miller "On a Bicycle Built for Two -- Parties" on The Hankster and Kevin Kreneck,Tribune Media Services, on Tim Rutten's "Snapshot of a split America" in LA Times


Tim Rutten: Snapshot of a split America (By Tim Rutten, LA Times)  A Pew survey shows that the most politically engaged Americans are now fundamentally opposed to compromise and split on virtually every issue. It's a landscape California has traversed for years.

More Massachusetts voters enroll as Independent (By David Riley, Patriot Ledger) Party leaders note that it’s easy for voters to stay unaligned in this state, which still allows them to vote in primary elections. But they acknowledge some voters today also seem to feel less bound by party loyalty. There’s disenfranchisement with the entire system, and political parties represent that system,” said Tim Buckley, communications manager for the Massachusetts Republican Party.


IT BEARS REPEATING
  • The misunderstood independent (By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix) Just six years ago, only 30 percent of Americans identified as independents. Today, that number is 37 percent. And while growing so fast (and 7 percent in six years is fast), they are also diversifying very quickly.
  • Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology (Pew Research Center) Yet at the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy.
  •  FOR DETAILS OF THE SURVEY AND HISTORICAL VIEW, SEE ONLINE (This is a 13 page report) OR PDF VERSION
  • Why the tea party won’t determine the 2012 GOP nominee (By Aaron Blake, Washington Post/The Fix) Particularly in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina – which have primaries that are open to independents and, in South Carolina’s case, all voters – there should be plenty of independents and even Democrats casting ballots in the GOP contest. Even in Iowa, voters can change their party registration on caucus day. Remember Operation Chaos? The Associated Press noted in a story this weekend that 42 percent of voters in New Hampshire are independents. In 2008, they voted much more in the Democratic presidential primary than the Republican one; this year, that is likely to change significantly, shifting the entire electorate in the GOP primary to the left significantly.

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