Reporting on the New Hampshire primary, NBC Politics on MSNBC noted:
“Remarkably, self-described independents accounted for nearly half of all voters Tuesday – a piece of data which has implications for November. Paul won 32 percent of independents, with Romney getting 29 percent, and Huntsman picking up 23 percent of them.”
The datum on the Independent vote is important for a number of reasons.
New Hampshire and New England is considered fertile political ground for liberals, which is why Barry Goldwater said many years ago that if you lop off California and New England, you have “a pretty good country.” It is remarkable that half of people voting in the Republican primary were Independents. And it is equally remarkable that Mr. Paul, a libertarian who is by no means moderate, was able to garner such a large chunk of the Independent vote.
The literature on Independents is scant. Woodrow Wilson International Center scholar Linda Killian has written a book due out in May titled “The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power Of Independents” that identifies various independent groups: “NPR Republicans,” socially moderate and fiscally conservatives; “America First Democrats,” working class Midwesterners armored in traditional values; “Facebook Generation” voters, usually under 35 and reluctant to join groups other than those organized on the internet; and “Starbuck Moms And Dads… real power voters,” socially moderate, chiefly concerned with education and security, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
Perhaps the Independent species in New Hampshire is different in the rest of the country. But if it is not, President Barack Obama should begin worrying.