Today's political climate hardly encourages independent thinking about the best way to move the country forward. Some on the left make efforts to appeal to a broader segment of the American population through its platform; others on the right do the same. Between the two, a middle ground is not always visible. When the middle speaks out of the shadows, one side or the other may attempt to shout it down. However, there is a middle ground for those with independent political party beliefs.
For many, it is not about siding with one or the other. Rather, the focus is on making the right decisions for the country. When Voters Gained Their Independence By definition, voters who declared independence from allegiance to a political party did so by making choices based on the issues. A candidate's party affiliation was never a consideration for how they chose to cast their vote. Moreover, studies on self-identified independent voters show that their interest is not solely on specific elections. They tend to make more informed choices about issues and candidates. However, some are less politically active than their party-affiliated counterparts.Still, when examined closely, a decidedly contrary view emerges: deeply ingrained beliefs, loyalties and attitudes often determine the independent vote. With this in mind, one could conclude that independents are closer to partisan voters than they care to admit.
Is Independence Really a Response to Partisanship? For some, independence is the flipside of partisanship. Many variables that are significant to partisan beliefs are closely aligned with variables that also define political independence. As a result, more studies look at what creates partisanship to understand independence. Often, social groups help to form partisanship. Whether relatives, friends or neighbors, these groups tend to influence political beliefs. This is particularly true for homogeneous social groups. An individual is more likely to have strong partisan loyalties when they have close ties to one or more of these social groups. Alternatively, low identity with social groups means the individual is less likely to be socialized. Their political choices become their own by either disengaging or switching loyalties.
To conclude, if political independence is really a response to partisanship, there must be a decrease in homogeneousness and socialization. People who truly believe in making decisions by connecting their personal beliefs with a candidate's platform will do so freely. Otherwise, strong social group partisanship may actually diminish the true independent thinker when it comes to politics.