Saturday, August 27, 2011

Independent Voters on the Rise: Disappointed But Not Discouraged

Indies are increasingly disappointed by the performance of Congress, and the President, but the campaign for structural political reforms like open primaries, nonpartisan elections, independent redistricting, fair access to the ballot, citizen initiative and referendum and fusion is gaining ground nationally...   Closed primaries, which exclude independents from the crucial first round of voting, is one major structural obstacle to a vigorous democracy. (See  Another obstacle is partisan control of redistricting, whereby state legislators – Republicans and Democrats all – carve up their state’s districts to guarantee the election of party-sanctioned candidates, using the power of partisan legislatures to support the status quo. Discriminatory ballot access requirements that are heavily biased against independent and third-party candidates, and the exclusion of such candidates from the nationally televised presidential debates jointly sponsored by the two major parties, are other obstacles. State laws that ban fusion and citizens’ initiative and referendum distance independents and all voters from the policy-making process.

National Conference Call for Independents.  Every six weeks, CUIP president Jacqueline Salit hosts America's largest ongoing national call for independents. She provides updates about what independents are doing around the country and how the movement is growing. Get connected, hear updates. 

Listen to 5/10 conference call here.

  • Congress more unpopular than ever (By Jennifer Agiesta and Laurie Kellman, Chicago Sun Times) Much about the next election hinges on independent voters, the ever-growing group fiercely wooed by campaigns for years. Among them, 65 percent say they want their own House representative tossed out in 2012, compared with 53 percent of respondents generally.
  • AP-GfK Poll: 87% in US disapprove of Congress (By LAURIE KELLMAN, The Associated Press - Atlanta Journal Constitution) Republicans and Democrats statistically tied, 40 percent to 43 percent respectively, when respondents were asked which party they trust more to handle the federal budget deficit. Nearly a third of independents said they trust neither party on the issue.
  • Independents WANT Obama to fight GOP harder (By Greg Sargent, Washington Post/The Plum Line) Pew poll:     A 37% plurality now contends that Obama should challenge the Republicans in Congress more often; 25% say Obama should go along with GOP leaders more frequently, while about the same percentage (26%) say he is handling the situation about right. In April, fewer (27%) said Obama should challenge GOP congressional leaders more often.
  • Charlie Cook: Travels With Charlie: America's Summer of Discontent (National Journal) But the fact that so much discontent exists in both parties is a sign of something deeply corrosive happening in this country. It isn’t just independent voters who have a derisive view of politics, elected officials, and public institutions. There is a growing sense that few good people are going into politics, and that many of those who are currently in office — people who are smart, experienced, and well-intentioned — are somehow neutralized, co-opted, or thwarted. A sense that institutions are failing, and no sense that they are being replaced with something that will succeed.

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