Despite some of the questionable comments left by users on our Facebook Page, we know that independent voters generally aren’t stupid. In fact, independents tend to weigh electoral choices and issues with more thought than committed partisan voters, often thinking outside the box and sourcing their own news to develop nuanced political views, rather than relying exclusively on either of the two-party platforms and talking points.
Here’s the latest proof of this phenomenon, illustrated by the chart above and the words of Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
“With the election less than two months away, partisan differences in views of economic news have become wider than ever… Just 15% of Democrats say recent economic news is mostly bad, down from 31% a month ago and among the lowest percentages over the last four years. Six-in-ten Republicans (60%) say news about the economy is mostly bad, as do 36% of independents. Opinions among Republicans and independents are largely unchanged from a month ago.”
There’s something interesting about this chart, and it’s not just that independents tend to be squarely in the middle of Democrats and Republicans on their perception of “economic news.” What sticks out is that in campaign years (2010… and right now) when partisan messaging and hackery is at its height, independents are able to ‘stay the course’ in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars spent to persuade the political middle. Meanwhile, partisans simply adapt the widely countervailing economic messages of Democrats and Republicans, and then spit them back at pollsters. The truth about the economy (and almost all politicized issues) clearly lies somewhere between the current hyperpartisan logic of both sides of the spectrum, and according to this survey from Pew – so do independents. Coincidence? Certainly not.
Further proof that independents aren’t as simple as political scientists make us out to be? Certainly.