Why Are Independent Swing State Voters Significant?
General nationwide polls provide an overview of how the election would play out if conducted at this point in time, but focusing more narrowly on the centrist members of the population can offer greater detail. The 2012 election is anticipated to be a close race, so the final result will likely be decided by voters who do not necessarily follow one party line. Since it is the electoral vote, not the popular vote, that elects presidents, states that are more “purple” than they are red or blue will be targeted throughout campaign season by both the candidates and the pollsters.
While polls focusing on Independent swing state voters offers a more focused snapshot of these crucial members of the electorate, they also are more prone to error due to the small sample sizes.
Obama vs. Romney: Interpreting the Poll Results
The sample of 371 voters was small. Breaking the sample down further by gender reduced size, making inaccuracy more likely. Since this poll was unique in its focus, the results cannot compare with aggregate data.
Turnout is also an important factor among Independent voters, since many are Independent due to a disinterest in politics, and may be unlikely to turnout in elections, even if they are registered voters.
Despite the possible flaws in this particular poll, general results among most pollsters have showed gains for Obama among many demographics, indicating his favorability is likely to also be on the rise with Independents, swing state voters, and women. The recent trend for Romney has been either stagnant or declining, with the exception of Rasmussen polling, which had him edging Obama among self-identified likely voters.
Gallup. Obama Solidifying Lead Among Independents in Swing States. (2012). Accessed April 5, 2012.
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