Are swing voters as crucial as they are made out to be?

"The important factor is not where voters’ inclinations started out, but the fact that their inclinations were changed at all. The act of persuading a swing voter has traditionally been thought of as moving a given voter from more likely to vote against a given candidate to more likely to vote for him—say from 55 percent likely to vote against to 55 percent likely to vote for. But it could also mean moving that voter from somewhat likely to vote for a candidate to very likely to support that candidate (say from 55 percent likelihood to 65 percent)—or, for that matter, from very likely to almost certain (65 percent to 75 percent). All three of these examples are mathematically equivalent—and it makes sense to think of them all as swing voters."

- Rut Teixeira, Why There Are Many More Swing Voters Than You Think

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Is there a myth about indepedent voters?

"This premise is based on the greatest myth in American politics: that independents are actually independent. They are not. As numerous studies have shown, the overwhelming majority of Americans who say there are “independent” lean toward one party or the other. Call them IINOs, or Independents In Name Only. IINOs who say they lean toward the Republicans think and vote just like regular Republicans. IINOs who say they lean toward the Democrats think and vote just like regular Democrats."

Ruy Teixeira, The Great Illusion

President Obama’s new rhetoric is starting to convince even the pickiest of voters. 

And Independents, too, now favor Obama on jobs, by 44-31, a big shift from 37-42 in September. And not only do Democrats support Obama’s jobs plan and believe it will improve the jobs situation, but so too do independents, by margins of 47-38 and 52-44, respectively. Moderates, meanwhile, are even more enthusiastic—support figures among this group are 5-9 points higher than among Independents on all these questions. As for raising taxes on the rich: Bring it on! By 65-28, Independents favor raising taxes on households with over a million dollars in income.”

-Ruy Teixeira, “Obama’s New Populism Isn’t Alienating Moderates.”

Poll courtesy of CBS News.

After a weekend of Silicon Valley fundraisers, President Obama is back to trying to rally his base for the 2012 election. Can the President appeal to his base without alienating independent voters?

TNR’s Jonathan Cohn tackles the question in a blog post here, while contributing editor William Galston writes today that Democrats may be losing the political center.

Courtesy of the Daily Beast

To understand how very unlikely it is that Obama’s long sought-after deal is going to magically turn around his numbers, we must visit one of the most robust but amazingly underappreciated findings in American political science: independents are not independent.

Ruy Texiera, “Obama’s Unhealthy Obsession With Independents”