Obama Support Collapsing Among Independents

In this last Resurgent Republic survey before the election, taken October 23-25, Mitt Romney has caught up with President Obama, and now leads the national ballot by 48 to 47 percent. The Romney advance has been driven by Independent voters who have moved toward Romney in the wake of the three Presidential debates.

President Obama defeated Senator John McCain among Independent voters in 2008 by eight percentage points (52 to 44 percent), one of the main reasons Obama won the presidential election. But this survey shows Obama’s support collapsing among Independents. Governor Mitt Romney leads Obama among Independents by 51 to 39 percent. If those numbers hold, that would mark a net 20-point turnaround for Obama among Independent voters in four years.

Problems with Independent voters are nothing new for Barack Obama. Since our first survey in April of 2009, Resurgent Republic has been pointing out Obama’s weakness among Independents and their resistance to his fiscal and economic policies. But this is the first survey since Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination to show Obama trailing among Independents by double digits.

A portion of the survey was conducted for NPR in conjunction with Democracy Corps. The survey polled 1000 likely voters nationally, including an oversample to reach a total of 462 voters in twelve battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The sample contains four percentage points more Democrats than Republicans, 35 percent Democrat and 31 percent Republican. That is in the middle of the range of party balance in the last three presidential elections: according to exit polls Democrats outnumbered Republicans by four percentage points in 2000 (39 to 35 percent), the parties were even in 2004 (37 percent each), and Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 7 percentage points in 2008 (39 to 32 percent). Following are key highlights of the survey.