Independent Voters on the 2012 Election
By: Carmen Scruggs
With election day fast approaching Michigan State University students show voting is not always black and white, or rather blue and red.
Jack Lyon, a political theory and constitutional democracy junior, falls somewhere in the mix of ‘purple’ as an independent voter trying to approach politics more moderately.
“There is no such thing as moderation in politics,” said Lyon. “But that is what we strive for.”
Lyon continued to say that certain issues divide voters but that will never change.
In a 2011 poll 40% of Americans identified themselves as part of the American Independent Party. At the time this record high was greater than the number of those identified as Democratic or Republican. However, an independent candidate has never been elected president.
The most impact an independent has had in recent history still falls short of the majority. In 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot gained only 19% of the popular vote . In 2000 Ralph Nader’s popularity among independents had a detrimental effect on Al Gore, but not enough to win America over.
With these results the perception still remains that votes for independents are wasted chances to strengthen a majority party. Lyon said although he’s independent, he usually votes along a party line.
“This election I am voting liberal,” said Lyon. “I don’t do split ticket voting, but I take my own interpretation of where we are.”
For Dan Davis, a journalism junior, deciding whom to vote for depends more on the big issues of today rather than a history of alliance to one party.
“To me foreign policy is extremely important and obviously the economy because it affects everyone,” said Davis. “I don’t believe in giving away my position before I know about the issues a candidate covers.”
As 2012 presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama strive to sway independent voters, as undeclared voters must decide which party they want to support.
What is unknown is to what extent people will emphasize economic issues, foreign policy or even President Obama’s last term.
“I think almost anyone has specific areas where they put more weight in,” said Lyon. “But I see the problems with putting too much weight in one area.”