Magazine article Psychology Today

Swing!

Magazine article Psychology Today

Swing!

Article excerpt

THINK INDEPENDENT VOTERS ARE HONORABLE UPHOLDERS OF DEMOCRACY? NOT SO FAST.

IN THE UNITED STATES'S two-party system, swing voters wield an inordinate share of power. With partisans almost evenly divided, the "undecideds" are often the real arbiters of American elections, and the ads and speeches candidates create are tailored to these mighty in-betweeners. Recent polls estimate that 40 percent of the American electorate identifies as independent, making them a larger group than either Democrats or Republicans. They sometimes seem to inhabit hallowed ground a notch above all the knee-jerk partisans, but new evidence suggests such status is largely undeserved. So who exactly are the independent voters- and how do they make up their minds? -Lauren F Friedman

1 Impartial - Or Just Plain Apathetic?

Pure independents- those who don't slightly lean toward either party- show the least interest in politics among all surveyed blocs. Fifty-seven percent of the time, they can't even supply a correct answer to the question of which party controls the House. Worse (or thankfully?), they are also the least likely to actually cast a vote.

2 Independent - Or Members of the Mob? …

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