Number Of Independent Voters Rises In Key Battleground States

The good news is that Democrats have suffered greater losses in terms of voter identification than Republicans. The bad news is that the Republican brand isn’t exactly appealing to voters either. Amy Bingham at ABC News weighs in:

A report released today by the centrist think-tank Third Way showed that more than 825,000 voters in eight key battleground states have fled the Democratic Party since Obama won election in 2008.

“The numbers show that Democrats’ path to victory just got harder,” said Lanae Erickson, the report’s co-author. “We are seeing both an increase in independents and a decrease in Democrats and that means the coalition they have to assemble is going to rely even more on independents in 2012 than it did in 2008.”

Amid frustrating partisan gridlock and unprecedentedly low party-approval ratings, the number of voters registering under a major party is falling fast, but it is also falling disproportionately.

In eight states that will be must-wins in 2012 – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – Democrats lost 5.4 percent of their registered voters while Republicans lost 3.1 percent. The number of independent voters in those states jumped 3.4 percent.

Obama snagged 52 percent of unaffiliated voters in 2008, but those independents flocked to Republicans in the 2010 midterms with 56 percent opting for a GOP candidate. Between 2008 and 2010, there was a 27-point shift in which party independents chose.

“Independent voters have been the deciding factor in the last two major elections,” said Omar Ali, the national spokesman for IndependentVoting.org. “And they are going to, more than likely, determine the 2012 presidential election.”

Obama’s campaign team has already launched two get-out-the-vote initiatives in the hopes of re-creating the web of grassroots support that propelled him into the White House.

The Obama re-elect machine kicked off Project Vote this summer, a targeted voter outreach program aimed to boost minority registration, and the website, GottaRegister.com, which offers interactive online voter registration on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

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