How Independent Voters Work

Author's Note

As the 2012 presidential campaign season has developed over recent months, it initially seemed like women were the most prized and courted voting bloc on the block. But after researching How Independent Voters Work, I realized that I was wrong. These nonpartisans are the largest and most influential group in the American electorate, and they share something in common with female voters. As I outlined in "Do men and women vote differently?," women are a monolithic demographic that side overwhelmingly with one political party or candidate. There are mini-demographics within the overarching demographic that have conflicting viewpoints and allegiances -- just like independent voters. Young, urban women, for instance, are well represented among independents, but so are rural and suburban males. And that's the trickiest thing about analyzing massive voting groups like independents that comprise 40 percent of potential voters: in a country as enormous and diverse as the United States, there's always plenty of room for exceptions to the rule.

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