Why Independent Voters Don’t Matter

It's become de rigueur to talk about the importance of appealing to independent voters in elections. However, those voters may not hold as much sway as you might think.

The Washington Post says independents aren't that important because they aren't paying attention to politics and are less likely to vote than those on the left and right of the political spectrum.

Think back to the 2012 election. Did President Obama win a second term because of his capacity to persuade undecided/independent/unaffiliated voters? Nope! Mitt Romney won independents 50 percent to 45 percent. At the heart of Obama's victory was his team's understanding that the key to winning wasn't convincing independent or unaffiliated voters but rather ensuring that everyone who was already for him (or would be for him if they were contacted in the right way at the right time by the right person) turned out.

That wasn't a new tactic. Making the presidential election a battle of the bases was executed to perfection by George W. Bush in the 2004 campaign. Obama's 2008 campaign was such an overwhelming win that he romped among his base, independents and everyone else, but the pillars of his victory were more-unified support among elements of the Democratic base, such as black and Hispanic voters and young people.

If you think politics is becoming too partisan, you're out of luck. It only looks like things are only going to get more factionalized as campaigns spend their resources talking to their bases which are already paying attention