Not long ago, Independents were the go-to demographic for determining who would win elections. How the Independents swung, so too would the election.
In 2008, Barack Obama carried Independents in Ohio by 8 points and in Florida by 7 points. That victory among Independents contributed a great deal to his 2.8-point win in Florida and his 4.5 point win in Ohio. A victory by Romney among Independents could tilt both key states in his favor.
Curiously, Independents seem to be mostly ignored this election cycle, and their presidential vote preference is almost unanimously ignored by the MSM. Instead, “women” have replaced Independents as the key demographic. This emphasis and sudden fascination conveniently ties in nicely with the Democrats’ fictitious “War on Women” meme.
In both Ohio and Florida, Barack Obama’s “clear leads” all come from heavy over-sampling of Democrats, not from winning the crucial Indie vote. In fact, most of the polls that show Obama with big leads also show Romney handily winning Independent voters. Yet, somehow, Obama manages to increase his performance from 2008 despite Independents now opposing him. Let’s take a look at how Romney is competing among Independents in recent polls:
Ohio – Leads Among Independents
Ohio Newspaper Organization – Romney +28
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac – Romney +1
American Research Group – Romney +16
Fox News – Romney +4
We Ask America – Romney +3
Public Policy Polling – Romney +2
Florida – Leads Among Independents
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac – Romney +3
Gravis Marketing – Romney +4
We Ask America – Romney +2
American Research Group – Romney +1
Florida Times Union – Romney +4
Fox News – Obama +2
Remember, these are states Obama won by small margins in 2008, primarily by winning Independents by 7 and 8 points. If Barack Obama were winning with Independents in every poll, it’s clear the media would be talking about it just as they did, to the point of annoyance, four years ago.
Independents make up roughly one third of the electorate, and one would think they might get a little attention this time of year just as they do every other election year. If Romney turns the Independent vote his way like these polls suggest, his chances of winning turnout in even Florida and Ohio are excellent. But the reality is that the way Independents are now voting simply doesn’t mix with the media’s tidy narrative that Obama is running away with the election in key battleground states.