We’ve been getting a great deal of media attention for IWV’s survey of independent voters, conducted by Douglas Schoen, and quite simply the most comprehensive look at what makes independents tick to date.
No surprise in all this attention—the results are stunning.
The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey H. Anderson read the polling results and pinpoints the top concern of independents. It’s—you guessed it—ObamaCare:
What’s the one issue that independent voters most strongly demand that a candidate get right? According to a survey of 1,000 independents (and likely voters) recently conducted by Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen and commissioned by Independent Women’s Voice, the answer isn’t “national security,” “taxes,” “immigration,” “the size of government and its level of spending,” “putting a mosque near Ground Zero,” “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” or “the stimulus and bailouts” — all of which were listed as options. Rather, the answer is “health care reform.”
And what must the candidate’s position on health-care reform be? For 83 percent of the respondents who said their vote would hang in the balance, the candidate must oppose Obamacare. So, according to the survey, if you support Obamacare, you’ve just lost 40 percent (83 percent of 48 percent) of the independent vote — before any other issue is even addressed.
IWV President and CEO Heather R. Higgins has a piece on The Corner that gets at the heart of what the poll found. The poll indicates that “understanding the deep-seated concerns and values of independents will be key to capturing their vote.”
Heather has a breakdown of these values that resonate with this influential segment of voters. It's well worth reading, especially for those who are thinking about what is likely to happen in the midterm elections.
Among independents, 89 percent believe government, in Michael Barone’s formulation, needs to “go on a diet: spending, the federal debt, government services, taxes and bureaucratic rules should also be decreased so that government can be slimmer and more limber and return more control to citizens.”
Unsurprisingly, then, independents believe that what would help most with a national recovery is cutting spending (65 percent) and cutting taxes (44 percent). Indeed, 49 percent believe the Democratic leadership has not only addressed the economic crisis the wrong way, but made it worse. Another stimulus bill for infrastructure does not rate high with this crowd; their faith lies with citizens controlling decisions, not government making decisions for them.
One of the most interesting findings is that this is a year in which having held elective office may actually be a minus—63 percent of independents think a candidate with a business background would be the superior one to hold office.
[I]ndependents see a growing divide between themselves and the political class; the party that can speak reasonably to those concerns, and mean it, could induce a permanent political realignment.