How Independents Vote


Michael Kazin calls independents a "confused and clueless horde." John Sides buries Kazin in data:

[I]ndependents actually vote in predictable ways. Much more than partisans, they vote for the party advantaged by two fundamental factors: the economy and war.

Jonathan Chait sides with Kazin:

This really seems to miss the point. Of course voting on the basis of economic growth in the two or three quarters leading up to an election plus military casualties is irrational. That's Kazin's point.

Sides partially agrees. Jonathan Bernstein thinks Chait has a funny definition of irrational:

I'm not saying all voting is rational, but I certainly don't think that providing politicians with incentives to produce peace and prosperity would be high on my list of suspected irrational behaviors.