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Swinging Indys: Independent Voter Volatility in House Elections

by Michelle Diggles, Ph. D and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

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Historically, Independents tended to split their vote for House members between the Democratic and Republican Parties by only a few points. But recently, Independents have become more volatile. In 2006, Independents voted for Democrats by 17 points. But in 2010, they picked Republicans by 18 points. Independents aren’t party loyalists. They swing between the parties— more dramatically now than any time in the past 30 years.

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End Notes

1 CBS News Poll: 1976 National Election Day Exit Poll [USCBS1976-NATELEC]. CBS News, Fielded November 2, 1976.

2 CBS News Poll # 1978-NATELEC: National Election Day Survey [USCBS1978-NATELEC] Survey by CBS News. Conducted by CBS News, Field Dates: November 7, 1978.

3 CBS News/New York Times Poll: National election exit poll, 1980 [USCBSNYT1980-NATELEC]. CBS News and New York Times, Fielded November 4, 1980.

4 CBS News/New York Times Poll # 1982-NATELEC: National Election Day Survey [USCBSNYT1982-NATELEC] Survey by CBS News and New York Times. Conducted by CBS News and New York Times, Field Dates: November 2, 1982.

5 CBS News/New York Times Poll: National Election Day Survey, 1984 [USCBSNYT1984-NATELEC]. CBS News and New York Times, Fielded November 6, 1984.

6 CBS News/New York Times Poll # 1986-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USCBSNYT1986-NATELEC]. Survey by CBS News and New York Times. Conducted by CBS News and New York Times, Field Dates: November 4, 1986.

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9 Voter Research and Surveys: National Election Day Exit Poll, 1992 [USVRS1992-NATELEC]. ABC News/CBS News/NBC News/CNN, Conducted by Voter Research & Surveys, Fielded November 3, 1992.

10 Voter News Service National Election Day Exit Poll # 1994-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USVNS1994-NATELEC]. Survey by Voter News Service. Conducted by Voter News Service (ABC News, CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News and the Associated Press), Field Dates: November 8, 1994.

11 Voter News Service National Exit Poll, 1996 [USVNS1996-NATELEC] Conducted by Voter News Service (VNS is an association of ABC News, CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News and the Associated Press.), Field Dates: November 5, 1996.

12 VNS 1998 Election: National Election Day Exit Poll [USVNS1998-NATELEC] Survey by ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News. Conducted by Voter News Service (VNS is an association of ABC News, CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News and the Associated Press.), Field Dates: November 3, 1998.

13 VNS 2000 Election: National Election Day Exit Poll [USVNS2000-NATELEC] Survey by ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News. Conducted by Voter News Service (VNS is an association of ABC News, CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News and the Associated Press.), Field Dates: November 7, 2000.

14 VNS 2002 Election: National Election Day Exit Poll [USVNS2002-NATELEC]
Survey by Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/NBC News. Conducted by Voter News Service (VNS is an association of ABC News, CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News and the Associated Press.), Field Dates: November 5, 2002.

15 National Election Pool Poll # 2004-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2004-NATELEC] Survey by National Election Pool (ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News). Conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, Field Dates: November 2, 2004.

16 National Election Pool Poll # 2006-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2006-NATELEC] Survey by National Election Pool (ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News). Conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, Field Dates: November 7, 2006.

17 National Election Pool Poll # 2008-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2008-NATELEC] Survey by National Election Pool (ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News). Conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, Field Dates: November 4, 2008.

18 National Election Pool Poll # 2010-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2010-NATELEC] Survey by National Election Pool (ABC News/Associated Press/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News). Conducted by Edison Research, Field Dates: November 2, 2010.

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