As we get along in the campaign, you’re going to start hearing a lot about “independent voters” on cable news. In fact, you might already be hearing a lot about them. I don’t really watch much cable news because watching cable news makes me excited, bored, mad and then snarky in that exact sequence. The worst one is snarky. You wouldn’t like me when I’m snarky.
But I don’t brook any hatred towards those who do partake in cable news. Newspapers leave ink on peoples’ fingers and are a real hassle to fold up. And blogs? LAME. Get out of your mom’s basement, amiright? But if you do watch cable news, I want you to know the truth about independent voters, because in the next few months Wolf Blitzer is going to talk about them so much that you’d think he’s in love with them or some weird thing like that.
So here’s the thing about independents. They aren’t all so independent. Shocking right? In a blog post (LAME), George Washington University professor John Sides breaks down 40% of voters who call themselves independents. The first group, pure independents, make up 10% of the total vote share. The other, independent leaners, are about 30% of all voters. These guys say they are independent, but lean towards being Democrats or Republicans. And polling shows they vote nearly identically to the people who call themselves Democrats or Republicans. Those of you keeping up can see that these independents are not acting very independently. Anyone who’s fallen behind should read this last paragraph again. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
So when the nice man comes on MSNBC and starts talking about how independents are growing in number and we should celebrate by watching Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum save the world from aliens at his lake house in the fourth largest city in Missouri on the 4th of July, tell him to hold up a minute. You tell him, look Christopher Matthews, I love that you have two first names and watching a movie together sounds like a whole lot of fun, but lets get one thing straight. These independents you speak of, they aren’t all that independent. So lets cut the baloney and figure out what’s really important. Namely, who is bringing the potato salad to your super-fun 4th of July party.