As Republicans sift through the wreckage of the presidential election and Democrats brace for the 2014 midterms, there is one clear point of agreement between them: Independent voters no longer decide elections.
In 2012, Mitt Romney became the first presidential candidate in recent history to decisively win the independent vote — yet just as decisively lose the election. Pollsters and campaign strategists — particularly Republicans — are scrambling to understand what happened — and more important, what it means for future campaign strategies.
Romney trounced Barack Obama with independents in five of the eight battleground states that Obama won, including all-important Ohio. In four of those states, Romney won the demographic by a healthy 10 percentage points. These numbers were reflected in most pre-election polls, giving Team Romney and Republicans overall a deluded confidence they had the race in the bag.