Friday, March 25, 2016

Colorado Independent Voters Are Not a Monolith

Colorado has 1.3 million voters who decline to state a party. It is Colorado’s largest and fastest growing political preference. They are not all centrists or moderates in their views. Like all voters, they range from liberal to conservative in proportions that reflect the communities they live in and their personal political choices and histories.

Recent voter surveys conducted by Ciruli Associates in Pueblo and Denver, Colorado, show that, although both communities prefer Democratic officeholders, self-described moderates dominate independents in both cities, but after moderates, Denver’s unaffiliated are much more likely to be liberal (37%) and Pueblo’s conservatives (35%).

Independents’ left-to-right ideological preferences undermine the theory that allowing them to vote in party primaries will help moderate the views of polarized partisans. In fact, in the most recent presidential primaries, independent voters have flooded into the elections to support far left, anti-establishment Bernie Sanders and bombastic populist Donald Trump – hardly what most would describe as a moderating influence. Of course, there may be other reasons to incorporate the independents (or unaffiliated voters in Colorado) into the partisan primary system. Voters may have a chance to weigh in on it this November.

No comments: