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.

Dislocated: Ideological Straddlers

Dislocated

[Chart: How dislocated independents responded to our poll questions]

These independents are overwhelmingly socially liberal and fiscally conservative, making them uncomfortable with increasingly polarized parties.

They are ideologically dislocated. But they are engaged and active.

Nearly two-thirds are male and they are the least religious of any segment. Three in 10 profess no religion, nearly half rarely or never attend services and six in 10 want religion to play a more limited role in public life.

A quarter volunteer that neither party represents their views on the budget and effective governmental management.

They are the most likely of any group to get “a lot” of their political information from the web. A third described themselves as “libertarians,” 46 percent as “progressives.”

For 2008, the dislocated are a prime Democratic target, but depending on the Republican nominee, this could be a GOP opportunity.


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