What follows is an edited version of Brian Lambert’s piece, “Branding the Mind of the Independent’ Voter,” posted with his permission. It originally appeared on the blog, “The Same Rowdy Crowd.” Here’s the link.
Lambert has an interesting take on who independents really are, and I think he’s spot on. He cites credible sources (including Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac University). Lambert’s well-informed perspective and colorful (!) prose make this a very good read. So after you check out the portion that follows below, read the whole thing, please and thank you.
Branding the Mind of the “Independent” Voter
Posted on November 9, 2010 by Brian Lambert
…some time in late summer Obama was on the campaign trail…He seemed amused by criticism from the GOP opposition machine — the best of its kind this planet has ever seen — that his administration hadn’t done a single goddamn thing.
“Well, what am I supposed to do?,” Obama asked with a big smile and tone of mock derision, “Plaster my picture all over every project funded by stimulus money?”
The crowd laughed….Except that kind of branding is exactly what he should have done and will have to start doing throughout the next two years if he wants to penetrate the curious consciousness of the mythical “independent voter”….You don’t walk by a fresh flower bed in that town (Chicago) without reading a sign that says something to the effect, “These lovely flowers planted here and watered by order of your Mayor, Richard J. Daley….”
Among many ironies of election 2010 is that Obama dragged down Democrats because of what he actually accomplished legislatively, not what he didn’t do, or royally screwed up….The winning first draft of recent history was that everything he touched was all a colossal, money-wasting, “job-killing” botch. An epic screw-up Read more.... that can only be stopped by restoring the gimlet-eyed forces of economic discipline, a.k.a. the guys who inspired and enabled the disaster.
…It seems absolutely critical to future Democratic success that everyone gets a clear picture of who this crowd (independents) is, what they know and why they vote the way they do.
…I found a year-old piece by Tom Jacobs at the Miller-McCune website, titled, 'Independent’ Voters Are Generally Not.' The gist is that while big name pundits are routinely referring to “independents” as the largest voting bloc in the country, better polling quickly reveals that the vast majority of “independents” identify with either Republicans or Democrats. the number of true independents — people who have no clue which way they’ll vote is into the single digits and, in the end … most of them don’t vote.
Says the story:
… “There are an awful lot of people who call themselves independent because it’s fashionable in some circles,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But their voting behavior is predictable. They are not swing voters.”
“This idea of the sage citizen who eschews party affiliation, is unbiased and persuadable by reason and facts, is very much a myth,” said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. “Most people are committed to a party.
“They may not like the label, so some call themselves independents. But there are very few people who fit the archetypes of the wise, centrist independent. People who don’t have a lot of opinions tend to be disengaged from politics and less likely to vote.”
…Liberals are a minority. The so-called true “independents” are almost non-existent. Most are ill-informed moderate Republicans who need constant reminders/assurances that, no, everything hasn’t been a botch.
The Democratic National Committee should run slick commercials in primetime and during major sporting events the year round, emphasizing that taxpayers will get their money back with profit in TARP, that GM and Chrysler are both returning to profit, that insurance companies can’t play the rescission game anymore, and that Republicans opposed every effort the administration made, including re-regulation of the Wall St. sharks who tanked the economy in the first place….