About three in 10 Americans identify themselves as "independent." A new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll looks at their evolving impact on U.S. politics.
Fueled by dissatisfaction with the president and opposition to the Iraq war, independents continue to lean heavily toward the Democrats.
At the same time, Virginia's pivotal bloc of independents, particularly those in vote-rich Northern Virginia, hold the state Democratic Party in even higher regard than the state GOP.
Types of Political Independents
Disengaged: 24 percent of independents
Disguised Partisans: 24 percent of independents
Deliberators: 18 percent of independents
Disillusioned: 18 percent of independents
Dislocated: 16 percent of independents
Behind the Numbers
Independents, By the Numbers (Exit Polls 1972-2006)
About the Poll
This survey was conducted jointly by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University as part of an ongoing collaboration. The partners together developed and analyzed the survey. Each organization bears sole responsibility for the work that appears under its name. The Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation — a nonprofit that researches health care and other issues — paid for the surveys.
The poll was conducted by telephone from May 3 to June 3 among 2,140 randomly selected adults nationwide, including additional interviews with randomly selected self-identified independents for a total of 1,014 political independents. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for results based on all respondents and four percentage points for independents. ICR of Media, Pa., carried out the fieldwork.
The project team:
- From The Washington Post: Jon Cohen, director of polling, and Jennifer Agiesta, polling analyst.
- From the Kaiser Family Foundation: Drew E. Altman, president, Mollyann Brodie, vice president and director of public opinion and media research, and Elizabeth Hamel, associate director of public opinion and media research.
- From Harvard: Robert J. Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the School of Public Health and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and John M. Benson, managing director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program in the School of Public Health.