Despite holding a generally unfavorable view of Republicans, most independent voters are leaning toward the GOP, a new poll of likely independent voters finds.
While 54 percent of those polled said they view the GOP unfavorably, half are leaning Republican in the weeks before the election and 52 percent said that Republicans represent their views more than Democrats. Only a quarter said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, and less than one third said they hold views that are in line with the Party of the president.
“Those who say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate do so to vote against Obama and his agenda, not because they trust the Republicans,” said Schoen, who advised President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s.
The primary issues that concern independents, the survey found, were increases in government spending (88 percent) high taxation (83 percent) and “the growing size and scope” of the federal government (79 percent).
That is not to say that independents have high hopes that Republicans will perform better on those issues. Less than one in ten said they thought Republicans would cut taxes and spending.
“Both parties are seen as big spenders and big taxers,” Schoen said. “The Republicans are really not seen as fiscal conservatives.”
It is imperative then for Republicans who are relying on independents to swing a tight race to focus on cutting taxes and government spending, the study’s commissioner concluded.
“If Republicans fail to convince voters that they are committed to scaling back government and cutting taxes and spending, these independents may become so disgusted that they simply stay home rather than vote,” Schoen wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece co-authored with IWV President and CEO Heather R. Higgins. “They are increasingly trending Republican, but they will remain that way only if the GOP offers them the agenda they so clearly demand.”
The results that suggest independents are angry at both parties appears to represent sentiments held by most Americans. In an Associated Press poll released last week, 60 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Democrats and 68 percent disapproved of congressional Republicans.
“When you see numbers like this — and I am a Democrat…that is as close in a poll to a Clarion call as you are ever going to get,” Schoen said. “And to ignore that, as I think the administration and Democrats have, is to create political peril.”