A Closer Look at “Independent Voters” Reveals That Most Are Not

A Closer Look at “Independent Voters” Reveals That Most Are Not

We broke down the mid-March Pew Research Study of self-described “Independent Voters”  and found several interesting data points of use for progressive candidates and campaigns.

It’s More the Party Label Than The Party’s Issues

  • Almost three-fourths of those who call themselves “Independents” are indeed partisans (as illustrated by their issue preferences) who just vote less.
  • These voters are generally fine with the blunt labels of “Conservatives” or “Liberals.”
  • Democratic closet partisans are more likely to call themselves “Moderates” than “Liberals” by 45/39 margin.
  • Republican closet partisans are more likely to call themselves “Conservatives” than “Moderates” by a wider 51/39 margin.

Voter Participation

In general, these “Closet Partisans” are registered at lower rates and therefore turnout at lower rates than self-admitted partisans. Closet Republicans hold a registration edge but the Closet Democrats vote slightly more often, nullifying much of the advantage.

Antipathy Toward Opposition Party

Closet partisans now mirror the attitudes of party regulars --venom toward the opposition is the norm.  We see with Democratic closet partisans that their distaste for President Trump is actually greater than their GOP counterparts’ hatred to Obama.

How they Differ from the “Party Regulars”

A review of the Pew Report’s crosstabs reveals some important differences between the Closet Partisans and the Party regulars when it comes to broad messaging themes.


Statement                                                                     Closet Rep. vs.

Party Regulars

Approve same-sex marriage                                            +18%

Support for legalized marijuana                                       +15%

Says system rigged for powerful                                      +14%

We should do more for civil rights                                    +9%

Wants smaller government                                              +4%


Statement                                                                     Closet Dem. vs.

Party Regulars

Support Trump tax cuts                                                  +11%

Approval of same-sex marriage                                     +9%

Immigration is a net plus for the nation                          +8%

Oppose expansion of scope of government                 +8%

Support for legalized marijuana                                     +6%

Opposition to the Wall                                                    +3%


To read more about the Pew Study, click here.

As always, we invite you to join our voter research conversation on social media with #chismstrat. 


  1. Jamie's avatar
    | Permalink
    Down through the years I have voted for both republican and democrat nominees.

    I am a woman who is Native American Indian/Japanese, I am highly educated with several degrees. I am an artist, have a small business, teach at a University and am an independent voter.
  2. Jamie's avatar
    | Permalink
    Down through the years I have voted for both republican and democrat nominees.

    I am a woman who is Native American Indian/Japanese, I am highly educated with several degrees. I am an artist, have a small business, teach at a University and am an independent voter.
  3. Paul Hosse''s avatar
    Paul Hosse'
    | Permalink
    I am a writer of an independent political blog for 15 years. I have over 40 years of experience in all areas of politics. Most Indies are not "closet" anything. The vast majority are moderates/centrists who've been purged as the Democrat or Republican parties have moved to the extremes. It has been my experience that Indies vote issues and individuals.They are usually much better informed on the issues and are more likely to be critical thinkers who avoid partisan dogma as much as possible.
  4. Anthony Contenta's avatar
    Anthony Contenta
    | Permalink
    For many years to Republican Party has tried to get rid of Obama Care, but has never brought forward a plan to replace it.

    The Covid relief bill was read in the Senate where were all the Senators that opposed the bill? Why didn't they point out when there was pork in the bill on the senate floor, instead they just tried to stop it. With no useful input from the Republicans. They want to stonewall anything that is good for the entire country unless it benefits their rich friends.

    Stay tuned President Biden will be on tour to explain to the country what is in the bill in the next few weeks. He hasn't lied to the country yet, Like the puppet master Trump has and still does
  5. Anthony Contenta's avatar
    Anthony Contenta
    | Permalink
    The lost lives and Year
    For the life of me I don’t understand it! I am an independent voter who tries to make the best decision I can when I vote. To my disgrace I voted for Donald Trump in Two Thousand Sixteen, but I saw the error of my ways. In Two Thousand Twenty I voted for the Biden-Harris ticket in the general election.
    My reasons for this are.
    The Trump administration in two thousand eighteen eliminated the rapid response teams for infectious diseases that the Bush administration started, and Obama administration thought was a good idea and expanded it which could have short circuited the pandemic, if it were left in place.
    Two Trillion dollars was given to the richest one percent of the country which added that amount to our deficit. In total Trump added over seven trillion dollars to the deficit even though there was a strong economy the three years before the Pandemic.
    Because of Trump’s inability to admit when he was wrong. Trump told lies that killed more Americans than World War One, World War Two, and the Vietnam war. Over Five hundred thousand souls lost so far, a year of our lives we have been shut in our houses, because of the inept response to the pandemic by the Trump administration.
    The Administration weaponized the pandemic, they sent out mixed messages and tried to silence the scientists. Instead of treating the pandemic as a infectious disease problem that affected everyone. Trump held super spreader events at the White House, and super spreader rallies when he ran for his second term. As a note here Trump received his COVID-19 vaccine in secret the beginning of January when he was still president. If he publicized he received the vaccine his supporters would want to receive the shots also.
    The Administration put inept persons as the head of services such as the postal service they gutted it to try to steal the election.
    Attorney General William Barr was installed as AG and the Judicial branch of the government became Trump’s personal law firm.
    There is over thirty thousand documented lies Donald Trump told over four years. The biggest lie was that he won the election and still stated that this past weekend at the CPAC conference in Orlando Florida. By the way the conference may become a super spreader event as most participance did not wear masks.
    Trump alienated our friendly nations and befriended our foes. He wanted to be an autocrat like Putin.
    North Korea was legitimized by Trump. I don’t remember any president going to see the North Korean leader before Trump.
    The most disparaging factor in the whole Trump administration was he did not graciously concede to Biden, and help the next administration get up and running, as all other candidates who lost have done in all the elections I have seen. He planted the seed six months before November third. “IF I don’t win the election it is rigged.” Following the election Trump’s use of the judicial system to try to win the election, which I have no problem with, but then he used the proud boys and other supremacists, groups to try to overthrow the government which he stirred up with his lies that he won the election. The lies culminated with the January six two thousand and twenty-one insurrection at the capital, with loss of lives, injuries, and destruction of our capital building.
    As I said at the beginning. “I don’t understand why anyone in the United States of America would vote for anyone who associates themselves with a Loser who wanted to be an Autocrat. People of the United States we need our legislatures to work for all Americans not just the rich ones or the white one.
    Everyone has to remember that unless you’re an American Indian we are all immigrants in some form. Our forefathers had to come from some other country. Silent American’s contribute to this country such as Lewis Latimer he invented a filament which lasted longer for the light bulb Thomas Edison invented. Lewis Latimer was a black man.
    Another obscured American was Katherine Johnson. She was a mathematician who worked for NASA. She did the calculation critical to the success of the NASA Space missions. Not only she was a woman but a black woman.
    Does everyone see were I am going with this? We need everyone to make this country number one in the world and prosperous. Included in this are our legislatures who need to make laws the will help and benefit all. If the politicians, we have in office presently can’t do this we have to find some who will work for the people and not a political party.
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