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.
These independents are deeply dissatisfied with politics today and antagonistic to both parties and the two-party system itself. Nearly seven in 10 are angry.
Only 14 percent are satisfied with the political system; eight in 10 express little or no confidence in government. Nine in 10 say the two-party system does not work for them, and most think Democrats and Republicans are pretty much the same.
Many say “neither party” better represents their views on key issues, including more than seven in 10 who say so about their positions on Iraq.
Bush and the war are crucial components of the disillusionment.
Three-quarters say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting and just two in 10 think it is still possible to stabilize the country. Fifty-seven percent call Bush the worst modern president.
For 2008, this group leans Democratic, but high levels of disenchantment could keep them home. They would also welcome an independent candidacy.