Thursday, February 21, 2008
During my training as a poll worker we were told how San Diegans break down by registered political party: 40% Republican, 34% Democratic, and 26% & ldquo;other or no party. & rdquo;
I met quite a few of those & ldquo;others & rdquo; on Super Tuesday. What was particularly interesting were the conversations I had with people registered as & ldquo;Independent. & rdquo; When I handed Independents their designated ballot they would sheepishly return from the booth with a confused look on their face and ask & ldquo;Who are these people on my ballot? & rdquo; I had to explain to them that they were the candidates for the American Independent Party, the California affiliate of the Constitution party, the party they had actually registered with. The voters were shocked and had so registered mistakenly believing that they had registered as an & ldquo;independent. & rdquo;
Wikipedia says the definition of an independent voter is controversial and fraught with problems. The earliest concept of the independent was one whose political choices, by definition, was based on issues and candidates (since the voter did not have a party affiliation). But early studies of voting behavior conclusively demonstrated that self-identified independent voters were less interested in specific elections than partisan voters, poorly informed about issues and candidates, and less active politically.
In fact, a contrary view emerged: The independent usually voted on the basis of deeply ingrained beliefs, attitudes and loyalties, and was more like the strongly partisan voter than any other voter.
A recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California reveals a large increase in Latino independent voters, according to Spanish-language La Opini & oacute;n. Is San Diego turning purple? Just for fun, I thought we could do a little poll among KPBS blog readers to find out what color you are. There are only three short questions . I'll give you the results next week.
- Trina Boice is an author and mother of four who lives in Carlsbad.