More Political Independents Than Ever

The share of people who say they are “independent” — that is, they don’t affiliate with a political party — has climbed to its highest point in 70 years, according to a new survey by the Pew Center for People And The Press.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents self-identified as independents, compared with 33 percent who considered themselves Democrats and 22 percent who identified as Republicans.

Fleeing The Ruins by Flickr User Ed Bierman
"Fleeing The Ruins" by Flickr User Ed Bierman
Of those independents, a third (33 percent) say they are conservative, which is also an increase.

I was recently among a group of people who covered the political spectrum. Out of fifteen or so, perhaps five said they were independents — and of these, three or so said they were really Republicans but did not want to say so.

Is that what’s happening? Or are people really abandoning the parties?

3 thoughts on “More Political Independents Than Ever”

  1. Perhaps people don’t find value in being part of the party institutions. I would need to verify from Bill Bishop’s book, The Big Sort: I believe he wrote that more people are voting straight party ballots at the ballot box. So, while there are more independents, fewer of us cross party lines when voting. I voted straight party ballot last election despite being registered independent.

  2. The shift is due to the radical polarization of both parties. There’s a major intolerance of those who don’t agree with the hard liners, and many of us are becoming intolerant of that. Once the R’s (and even the D’s) understand that, then I might decide to go back. Until then, I’m one of those that are of the conservative persuasion that will continue to refuse to say so.

  3. This is an interesting subject: Taking a survey of people who “self-identify” as independent or conservative or any other self-defined label is hardly a scientific study to begin with. The proof is in the pudding. I describe myself a an “independent” voter because I am, having voted split tickets in every election since 1968. If people are simply too embarassed to say they are historically an R, or a D, a G, a C or an L, that doesn’t make them an I. As far as I can tell, the major political parties count for nothing more than money machines and we’d be better off without them.

    grouchy old dude

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