Independents are the critical, deciding factor in American politics. Unaffiliated with either party, they are the voters candidates need to build a national coalition. The candidate who wins Independents wins the election. George W. Bush drew even with Independents against John Kerry. He won reelection by pushing GOP turnout to historically high levels. But no candidate has won the White House while losing Independents by a significant margin. Based on this alone, according to a new CBS poll, Obama is staring at defeat next week.
CBS is out with a new poll of the critical swing states Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. In each, Romney posts significant leads among Independent voters. In Virginia, Romney leads Obama by a massive 21 points among Independents. In OH and FL, he leads by 5-6 points. If this lead holds through election day, he will not lose these states, based on past elections.
Romney also has big leads among those most likely to vote. He wins seniors, the most dependable voting demographic, by 13 points in VA, 11 points in FL and 9 points in OH. Again, if these trends hold, Romney will sweep all three states, according to CBS.
Of course, since this poll was commissioned by CBS, they are downplaying these results. Instead, Quinnipiac University, who conducted the poll, oversampled Democrats by a ridiculous amount to show Obama with a 5 point lead in OH and tied in VA and FL. To get this result, Quinnipiac had to juice the poll to show Democrats with a bigger turnout advantage than they enjoyed in 2008.
There are few things certain in life, but you can count on Democrats not repeating the massive turnout they enjoyed in 2008.
That year, Democrats had an 8 point advantage in OH. They had a 6 point advantage in VA and a 3 point advantage in FL. It was their biggest turnout advantage in at least three decades. Quinnipiac, almost fraudulently, assumes Democrats will have the same advantage in OH next week, but will enlarge their advantage in the other two states. VA, according to Quinnipiac will go from D+6 to D+8. Florida, amazingly, will go from D+3 to D+7, more than doubling the Democrat turnout advantage. In a state where rhe GOP has added more voters and the Dems have lost voters!
For many reasons beyond common sense, the Democrats will not replicate their 2008 turnout advantage in these states. CBS is simply dangling a bright shiny object in front of you to obscure what’s really going on. Independents are breaking hard for Romney. And, they will deliver all three states to him on Tuesday.