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A reminder: Most 'independent' voters aren't

August 3, 2009 |  5:36 pm

Voting-booth

When you think of an independent voter, you probably imagine a politically minded individual with no party affiliation, whose unbiased opinions will swing from right to left depending on convincing arguments and logical evaluation.

Think again.

According to online research magazine Miller-McCune, most "independents" don't fit the ideal definition of an independent-minded voter.

"There are an awful lot of people who call themselves independent because it's fashionable in some circles," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told Miller-McCune. "But their voting behavior is predictable. They are not swing voters."

The news media often follow the ebb and flow of so-called independents' voting habits, and report on them as if they reflect a shift in popular opinion.

The argument against the existence of the unbiased independent is hardly new. For example, the authors of ...

... the 1992 book "The Myth of the Independent Voter" use psychological research and voting pattern analysis to show that self-proclaimed independents often align along party lines.

Too bad nobody has really paid attention to the 17-year-old voice of reason. The book has a paltry two reviews on Amazon.com and is being outsold by more than 1.5 million other books, including "Aliens Love Underpants" and "The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving."

Some people are upfront about their selective bias. Sen. Joe Lieberman, for example, calls himself an Independent Democrat.

But an abundance of citizen trendsetters continue to call themselves "independent" despite consistently going red or blue. It's cool to seem impartial.

-- Mark Milian

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Photo credit: Alexander Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

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