January 9, 2012

"Record-High 40% of Americans Identify as Independents..."

"... based on more than 20,000 interviews conducted in 20 separate Gallup polls in 2011."

78 comments:

Amexpat said...

Perhaps time for a new centrist party. One in which being called a "moderate" would not be considered an insult

dmoelling said...

But at the same time the self identification with "conservative" or "conservative issues" has risen.

It is never clear what "moderate" means in a political sense. It seems to be used most often by people who are reluctant to voice their political leanings in attempt to be polite.

Perhaps this is more a dissatisfaction with the Political Class than anything else.

Sorun said...

Fewer Koolaid drinkers. That's a good thing.

rhhardin said...

Something's wrong - you don't need 20,000 interviews to get 40%.

A thousand interviews is more than enough. A poll's accuracy doesn't depend on the size of the population, only the size of the sample.

I suspect extreme poll hype.

SGT Ted said...

So, whats the "moderate" position on civil liberties? Some speech restrictions allowed as a compromise to censorship?

There's a reason that "moderates" are not viewed as serious and/or with disdain.

SGT Ted said...

The new rush of "Independent Voters" are just people too embarrassed to admit they are Democrats right now.

Sorun said...

So, whats the "moderate" position on civil liberties?

A moderate position on civil liberties may be believing in a right to have an abortion as well as a right to own and carry a firearm.

Thorley Winston said...

It is never clear what "moderate" means in a political sense. It seems to be used most often by people who are reluctant to voice their political leanings in attempt to be polite.
I largely agree, I think most when people say that they want a “moderate” or “centrist” candidate, usually they’re referring to what they perceive as the candidate’s temperament rather than any actual position or set of positions on the issues.

Thorley Winston said...

A moderate position on civil liberties may be believing in a right to have an abortion as well as a right to own and carry a firearm.

More than likely a “moderate” position would be saying that you conceptually believe in the right to either but support “reasonable restrictions” on that right without wanting to get into the messy details of what does and does not constitute a “reasonable restriction.”

davis,br said...

I'm not so sure it's just "moderate Democrats" becoming "new Independents" at all: there's a bunch of conservatives dissatisfied with the GOP - and the Beltway elites - swelling the ranks of the none-of-above "Independents", too.

...I suspect "none-of-the-above" is probably more correct than "centrist" in that case.

garage mahal said...

More than likely a “moderate” position would be saying that you conceptually believe in the right to either but support “reasonable restrictions” on that right without wanting to get into the messy details of what does and does not constitute a “reasonable restriction.”

That describes the conservative position perfectly.

Lem said...

In short..

The scurrilous attacks on republicans as bigoted, racists and homophobes is working.

I wanted to say that earlier but I didn't want to run afoul of the judges instructions..

edutcher said...

Supporting what Sarge said, pollsters will tell you only 7-10% of Independents are truly independent. The rest are weak partisans who overwhelmingly vote their partisan sympathies.

However this, given the ghastly economy, chronic unemployment, government corruption, and potential foreign policy disasters abroad, may indicate a sea change taking place.

A new generation of Reagan Democrats?

Sorun said...

What makes someone join Team Left or Team Right? Is it nature or nurture?

I think it starts with a few significant issues (i.e. guns, abortion, race, etc.), but it's asking a lot of someone to buy into everything a team promotes.

I think a moderate is someone whose own preferences are a mix and match of Left & Right.

You can't pigeon-hole moderates, as much as you true-believers would like to. They're mostly just everyone else.

jrberg3 said...

"One in which being called a "moderate" would not be considered an insult"

Where do you get the impression that Independent means moderate?

Franklin said...

Liberals have no problem registering/identifying as Democrats, but conservatives don't want to register/identify as Republicans.

I think you're part right, Lem, but there's also plenty of Libertarians in the "Independent" group that simply don't want to be identified with RINO Republicans.

Amexpat said...

I think most when people say that they want a “moderate” or “centrist” candidate, usually they’re referring to what they perceive as the candidate’s temperament rather than any actual position or set of positions on the issues.

I think there's something to that. Most people want competent, pragmatic leaders and are rightly wary of strident, narrow minded ideologues. Unfortunately, the primary system doesn't favor mainstream politicians.

Sorun said...

Garage's contribution alone may have pushed hundreds of people from left to center. Thanks Garage.

jrberg3 said...

More to my point, I consider myself fiscally conservative and more socially libertarian. Which means I almost always vote Republican, especially in the larger elections. Yet I don't consider myself a Republican and would most likely answer Independent to a survey like this one.

Given the recent goings on with the Tea Party and the general distaste of Congress as a whole, I can see why people would want to seem independent from that.

garage mahal said...

Garage's contribution alone may have pushed hundreds of people from left to center. Thanks Garage.

I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights. Generally those people that don't mind restrictions on free speech are already on the right.

bagoh20 said...

Independent <> moderate.

Youngblood said...

Garage wrote:

I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights. Generally those people that don't mind restrictions on free speech are already on the right.

I don't know about that. I grew up on the left, and I've personally met a lot of people who wanted to restrict speech on the airwaves, on university campuses, and so on.

rwnutjob said...

Increase in independent label is based on the media's trashing of all things Republican. Ask people the questions of policy & there are more conservatives than you would think listening to the news.

Calypso Facto said...

I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights.

But, but, but: Citizens United! And we have one of the leading anti-free speech lefties right here in town: Russ Feingold of the unconstitutional speech restricting McCain/Feingold Incumbent Protection Act fame.

Sorun said...

I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights. Generally those people that don't mind restrictions on free speech are already on the right.

That's funny. Most of the hostility to free speech that I see comes from the Left.

garage mahal said...

Calypso
If free speech is money: Can Obama just pay people to vote for him with his billion dollar war chest? Highest bidder wins my vote! What's wrong with that?

Can George Soros unload every penny of his billions and give it to politicians to vote for his agenda?

Alex said...

Garage - what is your position on university speech codes?

Matthew said...

"That's funny. Most of the hostility to free speech that I see comes from the Left."

Sometimes you have to shut up the undesirables to protect free speech.

Alex said...

garage - funny you complain about money in politics when Obama will raise and spend $1 billion to get re-elected. Yup, that's A-OK.

Matthew said...

"If free speech is money: Can Obama just pay people to vote for him with his billion dollar war chest? Highest bidder wins my vote! What's wrong with that? "

I was unaware Citizens United was about paying people to vote for you.

EMD said...

If free speech is money: Can Obama just pay people to vote for him with his billion dollar war chest? Highest bidder wins my vote! What's wrong with that?

Can George Soros unload every penny of his billions and give it to politicians to vote for his agenda?


I'm not sure the point you're trying to make.

Does the left or right commonly want to restrict political free speech rights? And why?

Alex said...

Sometimes you just have to shut the conservatives the FUCK UP for the GOOD of the nation.

Yiddishe Bloyger said...

I can't believe anyone is seriously arguing that less free speech could sometimes be good for the nation. Aside from a time of war, that's just never true. You see what the so-called 'hate speech' laws have gotten us: a great tool for silencing critics of the Left.

garage mahal said...

I was unaware Citizens United was about paying people to vote for you.

I'm asking what is wrong with that, or even illegal about it. Free speech = money. If you don't allow me to buy votes, that's hindering my free speech.

Matthew said...

"I'm asking what is wrong with that, or even illegal about it. Free speech = money. If you don't allow me to buy votes, that's hindering my free speech."

Citizens United doesn't say free speech = money; no one has said free speech = money. What CU said, roughly, is that people are able to use money to say things.

As long as walking around money exists, though, there's probably vote buying going on.

EMD said...

"During oral argument, the government argued that under existing precedents, it had the power under the constitution to prohibit the publication of books and movies if they were made or sold by corporations."

But advertising and releasing In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, The Green Zone, Farhenheit 911, Sicko, etc. are wholly different than Hillary: The Movie.

Yeah, sure.

EMD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

"The case was re-argued on September 9. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the provision of McCain-Feingold barring corporations and unions from paying for political ads made independently of candidate campaigns."

Oh noes! Unions can use money for free speech too?

garage mahal said...

What CU said, roughly, is that people are able to use money to say things.

Ok, not free speech = money. Money = free speech. So Obama can say he would like to use his money to say he would like to buy votes.

Matthew said...

"Ok, not free speech = money. Money = free speech. So Obama can say he would like to use his money to say he would like to buy votes."

No. It didn't say that either. If people want to use money to get a larger platform for their speech, they are allowed to.

Unless we want to say money = abortions, or money = gun ownership, or money = having a lawyer to not self-incriminate, so money = rights, this is just getting silly.

And, politicians already use other people's money to buy votes. So. Not much difference.

bagoh20 said...

Modern Liberalism is pretty much buying votes. Its overriding theme is: "Vote for us and we will spend more of other peoples money on you. The conservatives want to spend less of it on you." That's the the whole program, and both sides agree about it.

EMD said...

So Obama can say he would like to use his money to say he would like to buy votes.

What the hell was the stimulus package if not that?

What was the suggested-now-disavowed mortgage relief program if not that?

Matthew said...

You can say a lot more things legally than you can do legally, by the way.

Calypso Facto said...

Calypso
If free speech is money:


Who said anything about money? I pointed out that lefties are against the making of movies and airing of television ads (i.e., free speech) that they don't agree with.

The shoutdown of Palin and the teenage speaker at the Capitol only confirm.

garage mahal said...

Who said anything about money? I pointed out that lefties are against the making of movies and airing of television ads (i.e., free speech) that they don't agree with.

The Supremes ruled on money. And I don't recall anyone interfering with someone making a movie.

Calypso Facto said...

You might want to dig in deeper than the comment section at the Cap Times:

The 5–4 decision originated in a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton Wiki

EMD said...

The Supremes ruled on money. And I don't recall anyone interfering with someone making a movie.

What do you think precipitated the CU case?

And what do you think it takes to make a movie?

Revenant said...

I don't know what the basis is for claiming that "independent" means "moderate". All it means is you don't think either party represents you.

We have a socially liberal big-government party and a socially conservative big-government, big-military party with a small-government insurgency. That leaves a lot of Americans without a home, politically.

garage mahal said...

The 5–4 decision originated in a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton Wiki

As you know, the SC went much much farther than that.

EMD said...

As you know, the SC went much much farther than that.

Elaborate.

Calypso Facto said...

As you know, the SC went much much farther than that.

Indeed. It also categorically denies government the right to suppress "political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs".

garage mahal said...

And allows unlimited spending by corporations from their general treasury. One little movie nobody seen, to that. Funny how that all worked out isn't it? But if you want to go to the Capitol, with four or more people, you need a permit, can't take photos, and you may need money to exercise free speech. Or in Kenosha County, a sign can't be more than 4" wide if on public land?

That's right wing version of free speech. Free speech/unlimited money for the right's biggest donors, and restrictions up the ass on left wing speech.

Revenant said...

And allows unlimited spending by corporations from their general treasury.

My goodness -- the Supreme Court ruled that people can spend their own money?

Gasp!

Matthew said...

"Funny how that all worked out isn't it?"
-- There are some penumbras occasionally for a variety of rights, it looks!

"But if you want to go to the Capitol, with four or more people, you need a permit, can't take photos, and you may need money to exercise free speech. Or in Kenosha County, a sign can't be more than 4" wide if on public land?"
-- Time, manner and place limitations? The devil, you say!

Matthew said...

"Free speech/unlimited money for the right's biggest donors, and restrictions up the ass on left wing speech."

Note: Occupy didn't have to pay the same fees the Tea Party did. Sounds like restrictions on the left, but not on the right!

Oh. Wait. It sounds like the exact opposite. Crazy.

garage mahal said...

-- Time, manner and place limitations? The devil, you say!

Time, manner and place limitations on people. No time, manner and place limitations on corps! Perfect! Just how the founders intended I'm sure.

Matthew said...

"Time, manner and place limitations on people. No time, manner and place limitations on corps! Perfect! Just how the founders intended I'm sure."

Can a corporation put a larger sign on public land? Or are we comparing oranges to apples?

Matthew said...

Can corporations take pictures in places people can't?

Can corporations get fees waived like squatting on public land can get you? At least, there'd be parity there.

Original Mike said...

"I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights."

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

jrberg3 said...

"That's right wing version of free speech. Free speech/unlimited money for the right's biggest donors, and restrictions up the ass on left wing speech."

Curious, how do you Unions fit into this warped political view you have? Seems to me they have always been able to spend countless amounts of money on candidates without nary a whisper of malfeasance from the left.

EMD said...

And allows unlimited spending by corporations from their general treasury.

So your favorite corporations can spend as much money as mine!

EMD said...

Also, the little film nobody saw was, according to McCain/Feingold, banned from advertising their film.

However, Michael Moore wasn't banned from advertising Fahrenheit 911, nor were his distributors, one of which is definitely a corporation.

Calypso Facto said...

And allows unlimited spending by corporations from their general treasury.
1)As Justice Roberts pointed out, the CU decision allows all associations of citizens, whether non-profit, union, or incorporated, to purchase platforms for free speech. I don't think that tilts in favor of a certain political ideology.
2) Only 1 of the top 20 political donor organizations in this country tilts Republican, so this is "right wing" friendly how?
3) The only corporation that can apparently spend UNLIMITED amounts, is the big Democrat backer and bailout recipient Goldman Sachs. All others would eventually go bankrupt.

But if you want to go to the Capitol, with four or more people, you need a permit
You always were required to get a permit to demonstrate at the Capitol. It's just that last year's crowds ignored that fact and it went unenforced.

As for Kenosha, do you mean the incident where the Sheriff correctly implemented the longstanding state DOT regulation that stipulates that political signs can only be: "put up less than 45 days before [an] election" and must be "removed within one week after the election".

Maybe you're claiming that the "left-wing" is inherently incapable of expressing itself within the law and is therefor at a disadvantage?

Matthew said...

"2) Only 1 of the top 20 political donor organizations in this country tilts Republican, so this is "right wing" friendly how?"

Well, now it may be more balanced. Totally not fair.

granmary said...

When will a poll of only Independents ask "Are you more conservative, more liberal,or more moderate than either the Republican or the Democrat parties?"

cubanbob said...

garage mahal said...
-- Time, manner and place limitations? The devil, you say!

Time, manner and place limitations on people. No time, manner and place limitations on corps! Perfect! Just how the founders intended I'm sure.

1/9/12 1:05 PM

You also believe that corporations like the NYT and the ACLU and all manner of NGOs that are corporate in set up should also have their free speech rights limited? Or only those you don't like?

garage mahal said...

Maybe you're claiming that the "left-wing" is inherently incapable of expressing itself within the law and is therefor at a disadvantage?

Then what was up with the groaning about not being able to show a movie about Hillary during campaign season? Also, I don't recall ever requiring a permit to enter the Capitol, no matter how many people were there. Sorry for the short reply, fire to put out.

DavidPSummers said...

"Moderate" has always been vague. Especially as both sides try to redefine it to suit themselves. More the to point here, the fact that so many Americans are identifying with Independent reflects, IMO, a growing view that the two party system has left them with two parties, neither of which they find acceptable.

EMD said...

Then what was up with the groaning about not being able to show a movie about Hillary during campaign season?

I believe the groaning was that documentary wasn't able to be advertised.

You might want to be careful with this, GM — think if the shoe was on the other foot ... and you weren't able to advertise your Anti-Walker movie because the government of Scott Walker told you that you couldn't.

I think there's a difference between rules for convening a rally and whether or not you can distribute a film.

However, I tend to agree that even the limits placed on free speech that you mentioned should be minor and simple for all.

Simon said...

Yiddishe Bloyger said...
"I can't believe anyone is seriously arguing that less free speech could sometimes be good for the nation."

Sure it could. Let's take a simple example: How about a law restricting pharmacies from selling records that reveal the prescribing practices of individual doctors to drug companies? Whether you'd support it or not, you you don't see how one could make a serious argument in favor of that law?


garage mahal said...
"I don't know anyone on the left that wants less [read 'fewer'] first amendment rights."

Hasn't the left waged a two eyar war on Citizens United, demanding a Constitutional amendment that strips people and groups of people of their first amendment rights if they choose to organize themselves using a coroprate form?

garage mahal said...

Simon
I meant to reply in the thread that you posted a letter to the editor re: Obama recess appts. Did you let it rip? I thought it was well written, had a nice flow to it and drew the reader in.

Simon said...

Thanks, Garage, I appreciate that—I'm still tinkering. I wanted to finish it tonight but I'm not feeling very well so it's difficult to focus.

Paco Wové said...

"Hasn't the left waged a two eyar war on Citizens United, demanding a Constitutional amendment that strips people and groups of people of their first amendment rights"

Butbutbut ... KKKorporations!!

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

The Supremes ruled on money. And I don't recall anyone interfering with someone making a movie


How convenient you don't remember how hysterically the left reacted to the airing of "The Path to 9-11"

garage mahal said...

I don't know anyone on the left that wants less first amendment rights. Generally those people that don't mind restrictions on free speech are already on the right


That's because you're delusional.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

That's right wing version of free speech. Free speech/unlimited money for the right's biggest donors, and restrictions up the ass on left wing speech


So unions, which spend tens of millions of dollars each electon cycle, are "restricted" how again?

By the way, can you name a singular example of anyone on the left calling for unions to spend less money on political campaigns?

Michael The Magnificent said...

My last girlfriend claimed to be an independent, though her voting was rather predictable; She only voted in presidential elections, and had never voted for a Republican.

WV: croyp

Kirk Parker said...

"this is just getting silly."

Garage is getting silly? No, I don't think so.

Calypso Facto said...

Don't know if you'll check back, garage, but good new article in Reason today on the subject.