Ever voted for more than one political party? Never purchased a party membership card? Ever refused to vote, after having come to the conclusion that “none of the above” is the best choice? Have “conservative” views on some issues, and decidedly “progressive” views on others?
If you answered yes to those questions, congratulations: You are part of the majority. You are part of the biggest political demographic there is — the independent voter.
In the U.S., independent voters have held sway for years. The Democrats and Republicans can generally count on their own partisans to come out and vote. But to win, they need to capture the support of the millions of Americans who call themselves “independent,” and who make up the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate.
In Canada, it hasn’t always been that way, but it’s changing. In recent days, a series of polls have been released showing many Canadian voters turning away from the traditional two-party alignment of Conservatives and Liberals, and indicating support for New Democrats. A Harris-Decima poll published late last week showed the NDP is now favoured by 34% of voters, to 30% for the Cons, and the Libs’ 20%. More than 2,000 Canadians were polled near the end of April by Harris-Decima. Their numbers closely reflect those published by Ipsos, Forum Research, Leger and CROP.