Since 1988, Gallup has been asking Americans this question: "In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent?" The most recent results, covering Aug. 11-14, have produced the highest number yet for independents: 44 percent, compared to 28 percent for Republicans, and 26 percent for Dems. The previous high of 43 percent was reached in July, August, and October of 2007, suggesting that, uh, maybe voters hate early presidential primary season?
You can read more about the across-the-board increase in political independents in both The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America and in an updated adaptation from the book that Nick Gillespie and I recently published in the magazine. In both venues we argue that dropping out of the political duopoly is a rational choice that more and more Americans are likely to make.
So what do these independents think about President Barack Obama, his jobs plan, and his overall economic policy? Bupkus, says a new Bloomberg National Poll:
The president's job approval rating also stands at the lowest of his presidency—45 percent. That rating is driven down in part by a majority of independents, 53 percent, who disapprove of his performance. […]
On the economy, 29 percent of independents approve of the job Obama is doing while 66 percent disapprove. Obama is weakest among independents when it comes to his ability to reduce the deficit—under a quarter of those respondents approve of his job in that category, while 67 percent disapprove. On job creation, 30 percent of independents approve of Obama's efforts while 63 percent disapprove. He scored slightly better among independents on health care with 34 percent approving and 57 percent disapproving.
Forty-six percent of independents say they definitely won't vote to re-elect the president, compared to 21 percent who definitely will support him. In 2008, Obama was backed by 52 percent of independent voters, compared to 44 percent who backed Republican nominee John McCain, an Arizona senator, according to exit polls.