Friday, December 30, 2011

Post-partisan addendum

Wikipedia's article on the Independent voter treats as an unresolved controversy whether independents are more uninterested, poorly informed, and inactive, or to the contrary full of passionate conviction and highly knowledgeable. I thought this controversy had been more or less fully resolved in The Myth of the Independent Voter (Bruce Keith, David Magleby, Candice Nelson, Elizabeth Orr, Mark Westlye, and Raymond Wolfinger, 1992): there are two different kinds of independents, a high-information type who are leaners with one party or another, and a low-information type who are true independents, and who may be the people who decide our elections (like the groundhog of fable, depending on whether they see their shadows on the way to the polls). I just wanted to note that a retrospective analysis from 2010 by Magleby, Nelson, and Westlye updates the numbers and shows that the pattern persists--available here.
The Choice between Vice and Virtue, by Jan van den Hoecke (1611-51). The young man is Hercules, saying, "I'm voting for the blonde--I think she'll keep interest rates down."

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