The Independents

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. The tabs below identify five types of independents.

Deliberators: Quintessential Swing Voters


[Chart: How deliberators responded to our poll questions]

Think back to your civics class ideal.

Deliberators are classic swing voters who believe in the two-party system, tend to have favorable views of the parties and repeatedly strut their independence at the ballot box.

They tend to be open to candidates from both major parties, vote about equally for Democrats and Republicans and believe it is essential that politicians work across party lines. Many have faith in the system and are hopeful about the country’s future.

Six in 10 see important differences between the parties and most say the two-party system does a good job representing their views. They are among the most politically active independents.

They are also about equally likely to consider voting for either of the major party nominees in 2008, leaving their support up-for-grabs.

Their openness to Republicans at a time of relative Democratic ascendance among independents, makes them a likely GOP target.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company