Entries in Independents (4)


Obama Has Problems with Independent Voters

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Digging into the cross-tabs of the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, it’s clear that Obama has a significant problem with independent voters.  On every measure, independents are significantly more disappointed with the president and more open to a Mitt Romney message.

While 45 percent of voters overall say they approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, just 37 percent of independents believe that.  Obama has a 12-point advantage among all voters on the issue of “who has presented a clearer plan for dealing with the economy -- Obama or Romney?,” but among independents that flips to an eight-point advantage for Romney.

Even on the issue of Romney’s record in business, independent voters are more sympathetic to the Republican.  Among all voters, more thought that Romney in his work as a corporate investor did more to cut jobs than create them, 42 percent to 36 percent.  But among independents, that flips to a six-point advantage for Romney, 43 percent to 37 percent.

So, why isn’t Romney ahead?  As ABC pollster Gary Langer points out, the Democratic base is more energized and engaged.

However, if Republican enthusiasm and participation increases, Obama has some very serious problems.  Even with universal support among Democrats, Obama likely can’t win if he’s losing independent voters by these significant margins.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Gets Chilly Reception from Independents on Economy Plans

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Swing-voting independents see President Obama’s plans for the economy negatively rather than positively by 54-38 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, marking the president’s challenges as he seeks re-election in still-troubled economic times.

It’s no party for Mitt Romney either -- independents also rate his economic plans more unfavorably than favorably, by 47-35 percent.  But more are undecided, giving Romney some room to maneuver. And, unlike Obama, Romney avoids majority criticism in this group.

Romney lags among moderates, and does less well among conservatives than Obama does among liberals.  But the president’s economic plans are underwater among middle- to upper-middle-income Americans, while Romney manages an even split in this group.  And Obama’s economic program is especially unpopular -- by a 2-1 margin -- among whites, though he does far better than Romney among non-whites.

Obama also crosses the 50 percent negative line among registered voters, who see his economic program unfavorably rather than favorably by 51-43 percent.  Romney’s rating among registered voters is 46-40 percent unfavorable-favorable, again with more undecided.

Obama’s challenges versus Romney's show more starkly when two of the president’s weaker groups are combined -- independents who are registered to vote.  In this group, more see Obama’s economic plans unfavorably than favorably by 56-36 percent; on Romney’s it’s 45-39 percent.

In sum this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, highlights the mixture of economic discontent and partisan preferences that both candidates face.  Overall, Americans respond negatively rather than positively to Obama’s economic proposals by 50-43 percent, and to Romney’s by 47-37 percent, with, as noted, sharp differences among groups.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Say It's Time for a Third Party

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly half of Americans say it’s time for a new major political party, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, and nearly seven in 10 say they’d at least consider voting for its candidate for president.  The question remains, however, whether such a candidate, if one emerges, could in fact break the habit of traditional party loyalties.

Other results in Friday's poll suggest it’d be a challenge.  Just 22 percent say they’d definitely support a third-party candidate, even given one, “with whom you agree on most issues.”  More, 28 percent, say they definitely would not support such a candidate, agreement on the issues notwithstanding.  The rest would simply consider it.

Interest in a third-party candidate comes disproportionately from independents -- a group that’s grown to record heights in recent years, but also is less likely to vote. Overall, 48 percent of Americans think the country needs a third party, ranging from 61 percent of independents to 36 and 40 percent of Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

Moreover, fewer than one in three adults -- 29 percent -- feel “strongly” that a third party is needed, including fewer than half of independents, 40 percent.  That raises the question of whether efforts to build one would have enough backing to succeed.

The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also finds that even among independents, just 28 percent say they’d definitely vote for a third-party candidate with whom they agreed on most issues.  That’s more than the share of Democrats or Republicans who say so (15 and 19 percent), but hardly an overwhelming show of support. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Were New Hampshire Independents Really Independent?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The first thing that pops out at you when looking at the New Hampshire exit polls is the large number of independents who turned out to vote. Almost half the electorate in New Hampshire’s Republican primary defined themselves as independent (47 percent), while 48 percent said they were Republicans.

Why such a big surge?

First, it’s clear that Ron Paul attracts a group of voters that aren’t traditional Republican activists. In fact, Paul won the independent vote with 31 percent. Mitt Romney took 27 percent and Jon Huntsman took 23 percent of this group.  Of the 13 percent of voters that said they’d never voted in a Republican primary before Tuesday, Paul carried 37 percent of them.

Still, there are also signs that these voters may call themselves independents, but in ideology and past voting behavior they are really more like Republicans.

A huge percentage of these independent voters -- 85 percent -- say they have voted in a Republican primary before Tuesday. Ron Paul carried those voters who said they had never voted in a Republican primary with 37 percent.

Moreover, even as the percentage of independents increased, we didn’t see much change in the ideological makeup of the Republican electorate from where it was in 2008.  In 2008, for example, 55 percent of Republican primary voters called themselves conservative or very conservative. This year, 52 percent identify as conservative or very conservative.

In other words, many of these voters who are identifying themselves as independents are really Republicans. Given the surge we’ve seen nationally in the number of voters who call themselves independents, it’s not surprising to see that playing out in New Hampshire as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio