John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Independent Voter?

Posted on October 1, 2012

In the 2008 election, the independent voter was the king.

Remember how everybody was talking about independents being the true swing voter?  Remember how Barack Obama killed John McCain with independent voters, and that is how he easily won the election?

In 2008, independent voters voted for 51 to 43 percent for the Democrats and President Obama.

By contrast, in the 2010 election, Republicans trounced the Democrats among independent voters, 55 percent to 39 percent.  That was the big reason that the GOP had the biggest midterm election night since 1938.

This year, independent voters are once again swinging towards the Republican candidate.  Most polls show Romney to be up on Obama among independent voters by about 10 points.

You would think that this fact would give Mr. Romney an edge in the overall polls, but apparently that is not the case.

For reasons that are a little beyond me, most polling operations have decided to over-sample the Democrats in their polls.  This is especially true in the various media polls, where Democrats usually have a ten-percent edge in the number of people surveyed.

I am not an expert in polling methodology, and maybe these numbers will turn out to be correct in the final tally.

But I am more than a bit skeptical.

If independent voters were the key swing vote in 2008 and 2010, why wouldn’t they be the key swing vote in this election?

If Democrats had a huge enthusiasm advantage in 2008 and Republicans had a huge enthusiasm advantage in 2010, wouldn’t that also play a role in the 2010 election.

Most polls show that Republicans are much more motivated to vote than Democrats in this coming election.

If most Democrats are going to vote for Obama while most Republicans are going to vote for Romney (both score in the high 90’s with their own parties), and if the independents are going to swing towards Romney, as most polls suggest that they will, and if Republicans have a much bigger enthusiasm advantage than the Democrats, how is it that Romney can lose?

Maybe the media is creating its own narrative, and hoping upon hope that it becomes true.

I could be wrong, but something doesn’t quite add up with all of these so-called scientific polls that show that Mr. Romney is going to get beat.