Independents ser sig inte som demokrater eller republikaner.
Deras sympatier kan pendla mellan olika politiker och partier beroende på situation och omständigheter. De är USA:s motsvarighet till svenska mittenväljare.
I USA består väljarkåren av två nästan lika stora block väljare. Det ena blocket röstar nästan alltid på den demokratiska presidentkandidaten och det andra blocket röstar nästan alltid på republikanen.
Om detta stämmer är det inte så konstigt att rösterna från independents är så eftertraktade. Den kandidat som lyckas vinna över dem vinner också presidentvalet.
Den vedertagna uppfattningen är också att dessa independents söker en kompromisskandidat. De vill ha en kandidat som inte är för ”extrem” utan förenar det bästa av vad de två partierna kan erbjuda.
Men Frank Rich, vid tidskriften New York, har dragit en helt annan slutsats efter att ha studerat statistiken.
For the good deed of trying to defuse partisan tensions, [Barack Obama] has been punished with massive desertions by the very independents who are supposed to love his pacifism. In the last Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll, his support among them had fallen by half since he took office, from 52 percent to 26 percent. Perhaps that’s because these independents, who represent roughly 36 percent of voters, are not the monochromatic ideological eunuchs they’re purported to be. One polling organization that regularly examines them in depth, Pew, has found that nearly half of independents are in fact either faithful Democrats (21 percent) or Republicans (26 percent) who simply don’t want to call themselves Democrats and Republicans. (Can you blame them?) Another 20 percent are “doubting Democrats” and another 16 percent are “disaffected” voters, respectively anti-business and anti-government, angry and populist rather than mildly centrist. The remaining 17 percent are what Pew calls “disengaged”—young and uneducated Americans, four fifths of whom don’t vote anyway. There’s nothing about the makeup of any segment of these “all-important independent voters” that suggests bipartisan civility has anything whatsoever to do with winning their support.
To pursue this motley crew of the electorate as if it had a coherent political profile is nuts. Its various subsets are on so many different sides of so many questions no ideological hermaphrodite could please them all. Rather than win these voters over with bipartisan outreach, Obama may instead have driven them away. His steep decline among independents is paralleled by the decline in voters who credit him as a “strong leader.” A president who keeps trying and failing to defuse partisan tensions risks being perceived as a wuss by Democrats, Republicans, and, yes, independents alike.
And so, with no legislation possible and no economic miracles in store, Obama’s presidency has shrunk to the bully pulpit. His best hope is to use that pulpit, with all the muscle, talent, and energy at his command, to ferociously define and defend the American values under siege by the revolutionaries at the capital’s gates. That doesn’t mean more eloquent speeches from Washington. It means relentless barnstorming night and day. It means at long last embracing a big-picture narrative. It means going on the road […] It means—and this, thankfully, is another part of Obama’s DNA—playing to win.
The many who would have Obama surrender without a fight in 2012—whether Beltway wise men addicted to bipartisanship, vain and deluded third-party entrepreneurs, or White House strategists chasing phantom independents—are fiddling while America burns. If Obama succumbs to their siren call again, he will too.