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Why independent voters don’t decide elections

Conventional wisdom in Florida politics says the candidate who wins independent voters will win the election.

Supposedly, independent and no-party-affiliated voters are swing voters who are centrist and carry no preference toward either party. They identify as independent because they find both parties too extreme, or they swing from one political party to the other between elections.

Advocates for open primaries argue that if the growing number of unaffiliated voters were allowed to vote in partisan primaries, it would result in more moderate candidates.

Let’s examine the data. In 2012, exit polling indicated that 93 percent of Democrats voted for Barack Obama, and 92 percent of Republicans supported Mitt Romney. This is the norm in modern elections. Parties are highly cohesive and ideologically sorted, and partisans rarely split their tickets between parties down the ballot.

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