Where are the independents?
There has been a lot written lately about putting too much credence in “early voting” percentages. The CW seems to be that while the numbers may indicate one thing there’s a possibility they mean something else that may, just may, favor Democrats. Seems to me they’re trying their best to make a horse race out of this coming wave election. For instance, POLITICO attempts to make the point with California:
California provides an illustrative example of the complexities of interpreting early returns. According to data gathered by the Atlas Project, a private Democratic consulting firm, 43 percent of California early voters have been Democrats, while 39 percent have been Republicans. Considering the Democrats’ current 44-31 registration advantage in the state, the GOP appears to be outpacing its share of the electorate, while Democrats appear to be staying home. Then again, in the 2006 early vote — a great year for Democratic candidates — each party drew 41 percent, a performance that was below Democratic registration and well above the Republican share.
And what about the indies? By my count that’s 82% of the electorate self-identifying as either Republican or Democrat. That means a huge 18% have identified themselves as neither and will decide the election. It was what made the difference in 2006 when independents on the whole supported Democrats.
Of course California isn’t the easiest state to analyze because of its proposition system and, well, the fact it is California. But the point holds. Many of those analyzing the early vote counts have to limit themselves to percentage turn outs from the 2 major parties because they are mostly assured that those voters voted for their party’s candidates.
So when you see these sorts of numbers, take them with a bit of grain of salt until you factor in this:
One of the most striking findings from The Hill’s polling is that voter opinions have remained rock-solid over four weeks, particularly among independents. In the overwhelming majority of districts, independent voters are breaking for Republican challengers while expressing widespread disapproval of Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress.
About all early voting numbers indicate is the level of enthusiasm among base voters. It is the indies who will decide the elections. ~McQ