The Corner

Politics & Policy

Most ‘Independents’ Aren’t

Pew Research provides a useful reminder that most of the people who consider themselves politically independent — 81 percent of them — lean toward one party or the other. Only 7 percent of Americans don’t lean toward either. These non-leaners tend, perhaps unsurprisingly, not to be politically engaged.

Sometimes people point to the high number of people who describe themselves as independent — 38 percent of the public, compared to 31 percent who say they’re Democrats and 26 percent who identify as Republicans — as a reason to think that a third party could really take off. The facts mentioned above undercut that idea.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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