You've heard of the RINOs, right? The so-called Republicans In Name Only who some on the right want to replace with real conservatives? Perhaps you've heard of their oh-so-cleverly coined counterpart slur on the left, DINO. Turns out neither is as important to 2010 as some might believe. The real action, according to a new poll, is on the IINOS -- extraordinarily motivated independent voters who are, more often than not, driven to vote for the GOP.
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The survey of 1,069 independent voters conducted by Pew last month found that "political independents now favor Republican candidates by about as large a margin as they backed Barack Obama in 2008 and congressional Democratic candidates four years ago." Independents will swing -- after all, they put Obama in the White House and Peolsi in the speaker's chair -- but this year's independent voter is swinging Republican.
Normally, independent voters don't get too excited about midterm elections. The off-year vote is usually left largely to partisans who battle for the winning margin in a relatively low turnout cycle. That appears not to be the case this year.
Pew finds that in 2010, "independent voters, who typically are not highly engaged by midterm elections, are now more likely than Democrats to say they are giving a lot of thought to this one." And "the relatively high level of independent engagement this year has come among those who plan to vote Republican."