Dec 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New data: GOP's gap with independent voters

Share of independent voters who supported <strong style="color:#15a0ff;">Democrat</strong> or <strong style="color:#fa4f3b;">Republican </strong> candidates
Data: AP VoteCast, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press. (The remaining voters chose "another candidate.") Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Interviews with midterm voters show Republicans continually underperform Democrats with one of the ripest targets in politics — independents who say they don't lean toward either party.

Why it matters: The interviews, by AP VoteCast (methodology), show a critical mass of moderates aren't thrilled with Democrats — but are resistant to a MAGA-fied GOP.

The data show Republicans have been stuck in the high 30s among independents in each of the past three elections.

  • These voters made up 12% of the electorate in 2018, 5% in 2020 and 8% in 2022.
  • 20% of independents didn't vote for either party in 2022 (the missing votes in the chart above).

Between the lines: In November, independents didn't entirely blame Biden for the bad economy, even though they rated it poorly, AP reports.

  • Few independents said the economy is doing well — and about two-thirds disapproved of Biden's handling of it.
  • But independents were slightly more likely to say inflation is the result of factors outside Biden's control.

Reality check: That nuance was often missing from GOP messaging.

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