There are several estimates of the “true” number of independent voters in america, ranging from 10% to 40%, but Pew Research Center has recently pegged the number of “swing voters” for the 2012 presidential election at 23%. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that the number is down compared to 2008, when there wasn’t an incumbent running and Americans had a “choice” between two new candidates. From the report:
About a quarter (23%) of registered voters identify themselves as swing voters, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 4-15. A swing voter is someone who is undecided, or leans to or favors a candidate but says there is still a chance he or she will change their mind.
This is a significantly smaller swing vote than was the case at the end of the primary season four years ago. In June 2008, 33% of all registered voters, and fully 46% of independent voters, remained uncommitted.
Past surveys show this is not uncommon when an incumbent is up for reelection and voters feel they have a clearer sense of the options before them. In June 2004, just 21% of registered voters were swing voters, including only 28% of independents.
Many independents have yet to commit to either Obama or Romney. While 90% of independents express a preference, only 66% say they are certain about how they will vote.