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A Tale of Two Citizens: Independent Leaners Don’t Vote Like Partisans

by Michelle Diggles, Ph. D and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

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Many pundits argue that Independent voters aren’t truly Independent—most lean one way and stay there. But following these voters over time reveals that Independents who lean don’t consistently fall with partisans. In fact, nearly half of the Independents who said they leaned Democratic in 2000 voted Republican two years later, compared to just 7% of strong Democrats.

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End Notes

1 Todd Eberly, “Family Feud: Democratic Activists v. Democratic Voters—The Ideological Gulf that Thwarts a Sustained Majority,” Report, Third Way, February 2012, p. 8. Available at: