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A deeper look at why independent voters aren’t quite what they seem




President Ronald Reagan speaking on the phone as he tries to drum up support for his budget proposals as his votes trail in the election, Los Angeles, CA, 1981.
President Ronald Reagan speaking on the phone as he tries to drum up support for his budget proposals as his votes trail in the election, Los Angeles, CA, 1981.
Keystone/Getty Images

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In the 2016 presidential election, independent voters were seen as a tipping point between Democrats and Republicans - but that hasn't always been the case.

There used to be a lot more voting across the aisles, depending on policy, rather than party. But there have been shift in that narrative, from the rise of Ronald Reagan to the Gingrich Revolution in ‘94.

Voters have become more partisan, yet there’s been an increase in voters registered as independent. Some theorize that the independent voter is just a partisan dissatisfied with the establishment, even though they still vote along party lines.

So how many true independents are there and if you’re one of them, tell us about the changes you’ve seen in “independent” voting in California. How did we stop voting across the aisle?

Guests:

Thad Kousser, professor of political science specializing in California politics at UC San Diego; his recent book is “Politics in the American States: A Comparative Analysis” (CQ Press, 2017)

Dan Schnur, professor at the USC Annenberg school of Communications; founder of the USC / Los Angeles Times statewide political poll; he tweets @danschnur