The Democratic advantage among independent voters has melted away since the high point of November 2008 (7 point advantage). Currently, Republicans have a 22 point lead over Democrats among independents using the general congressional ballot test.
This Democratic weakness was confirmed in the 2009 elections. According to exit polls, independents overwhelmingly supported Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob McDonnell in Virginia (50% to 31%) and Chris Christie in New Jersey (65% to 34%).
Although Democrats, and specifically President Obama, had trouble motivating their base – the young and black voters – the real problem was losing suburban independent votes that they had won in 2008.
Also ominous for Democrats was the loss of the economically concerned voters. Obama carried them by 59 percent to 40 percent in Virginia in 2008, but McDonnell won them by 75 percent this year. Democrats won them by even more in New Jersey in 2008, but Republicans carried them by 60 percent in 2009.
(See the following articles: Washington Post, Commentary Magazine, ABC News, Gallup, Spectator and Gallup)