The Corner

“Base” & “Independent” Strategies Are Complementary

Jim Gimpel, from the University of Maryland, has an interesting piece making the case that “It’s a common misnomer in political campaigns that there’s a distinction between strategies targeting a candidate’s ‘base’ and those engaging ‘independents.’” His point is that independents usually live in communities that lean one way or the other, and they’re more likely to become politically engaged if the “base” voters in their community are energized. His conclusion is ominous for the GOP:

That means that if Senator McCain should end up winning the election, it will not be because he moved to the “center” and captured some amorphous collection of independent voters there, it will be because the Republican base was more excited about their candidate than the Democratic base was about theirs. That excitement fuels a contagion that carries the less-expert independents along with it, mobilizing more of them.

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