Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Choosing Sides: The Decline of Independents

Bookmark and Share

With the 2006 elections being cited as most expensive in U.S. history, filled with some of the nastiest campaign ads ever, one might expect to find increased disgust among the electorate for the two major parties responsible for these campaigns, especially by those who only weakly identify themselves with the Democratic and Republican Parties.

However, instead of abandoning these political parties and self-identifying in greater numbers as independents, the public seems to be sticking with the donkeys and the elephants. In fact, a study of partisanship trends across the Upper Midwest over the past year and a half finds the number of people identifying themselves as independents to be falling drastically.

Smart Politics examined the Party ID data in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin from SurveyUSA polling in May 2005 and September 2006 and found the percentage of independents in all four Upper Midwestern states had dropped.

In Iowa, 38 percent identified themselves as independents in May 2005, falling to just 26 percent in September 2006. In South Dakota the drop was even greater: 29 percent to 16 percent. Wisconsin also saw a double-digit drop: from 35 percent to 25 percent. In Minnesota, the drop was four points: 32 percent to 28 percent.

In Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota the Democrats seemed to be the beneficiary of this change—with Democratic Party ID increases of seven, four, and two points respectively. In South Dakota, there was a seven-point uptick in those identifying themselves as republicans.

It seems even if the public is disgusted by the harsh political tone of the day, they are not throwing up their hands: they are choosing sides. In light of this apparent the increase in Party ID with the two major parties, Smart Politics suspects turnout in the 2006 mid-terms will be much higher than normal.

Previous post: MN House: GOP at a Disadvantage
Next post: WI-3: GOP Challenger Launches Unforgettable Attack Ad

1 Comment


  • I think part of the reason for the drop in independents is that the races seem so close, you don't want to "waste" your vote on a 3rd party candidate.

    I for one would like to vote for Peter Hutchinson for MN Gov and Bruce Kennedy for Sec. of State. However, I think it's even more important that T-Paw and Kiffmeyer not be re-elected. If I could be assured that Hatch and Ritchie don't need my votes, I would vote for the Independent candidates.

    It's a conundrum for independent candidates throughout and is probably why 3rd parties don't last long in American politics. It is also the main reason I will be voting for IRV in Minneapolis.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Final Four Has Presidential Approval

    By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


    Three for the Road

    A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting