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Voting Independent Isn’t Just a Statement Vote Anymore

by Ted Waitt

A vote for an Independent candidate is no longer mere symbolism. congratulates California’s courageous Independent candidates Linda Parks, Chad Condit, Chad Walsh, and Nathan Fletcher.  Through each of their campaigns, these leaders proved one common reality:  Independent, non-party candidates are now legitimate competitors in American politics.  The ‘centrist majority’ has been awakened, and the match has been struck.

Each race from California’s Tuesday, June 5th primary election tells this story in a different way:

  • In the case of Chad Walsh for California Assembly, Walsh will advance to the November general election by pulling a truly remarkable showing of 45% of votes against his entrenched party opponent: a long-time politician with enormous name ID.
  • In San Diego, with little more than two months to compete as an Independent, Nathan Fletcher rocketed from the relative unknown to achieving 24% of the vote in the three-way race and assembled a vast coalition of pragmatic, solutions-oriented voters and community leaders.  Given the enormity of investment by the parties dedicated to negative messages tearing Fletcher down, his near-win is all the more amazing.
  • Both Chad Condit and Linda Parks demonstrated respectable showings in their House races with Parks taking 18% of the vote among six candidates despite viscous and relentless party attacks, and Condit achieving 15% of the vote among five candidates in one of the most politically targeted races in the country.

This has very rarely, if ever, been seen before…(more)

California’s June Primary

Independent Candidates Show 76% Improvement

Independent candidates in California’s recent primary election did far better as a whole than similar efforts in the previous three election cycles. Although a few of the candidates that icPurple endorsed for California’s first use of the new Top 2 Open Primary system were not successful in getting onto November’s general election ballot, our preliminary analysis shows some surprising and encouraging results. The vote share of the top independent and third party candidates against those from the major parties increased by over 76% compared to the averages in the 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections.

Office 2012 Results 2006-2010 Average % Change
US House 21.18% 12.01% 76.40%
CA State Assembly 21.24% 12.03% 76.60%
CA State Senate 10.50% 8.59% 22.19%

In order to get the comparison of voter preferences, we used the vote share in each of the general elections of 2006, 2008 and 2010. These were compared to the vote share of candidates for the same offices in the 2012 open primary. Initially, this may seem to be an apples to oranges comparison. Typically, primary election voters tend to have a different profile, both more partisan and more activist. They are also substantially outnumbered by general election voters. The path to this analysis requires making a few assumptions and comparisons that, while imperfect, do show what may be a significant shift in election behavior.

Since the Top-2 open primary is new, getting a comparison from the standpoint of voters is a challenge but, is also of great importance. To understand if independent candidates have a greater or lesser chance of success in this new environment, finding a way to compare 2012 with the past is critical…(more)