The Rise of Independents?
Thursday, October 22, 2009; 12:41 PM
Two new polls -- one by the Washington Post, the other by Pew -- shows an increase in the number of people identifying as independents, a data point that is sure to lead to speculation about the possibility of the emergence of a third party (and third party candidate) in the runup to the 2012 presidential race. The latest Post poll shows 42 percent of the sample describing themselves as independents, more than double the number who called themselves Republicans (20 percent) and even far ahead of the 33 percent who referred to themselves as Democrats. While three of the last four Post surveys have shown the independent number over 40 percent, as recently as last year independents comprised just 31 percent. Pew's compilation of their 2009 surveys to date showed a similar trend with self-identified independents comprising 35 percent -- the highest that group has been in Pew data