Letter: Do unaffiliated voters matter?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There are more voters in Buncombe County registered as unaffiliated than with either political party, and this is true across the country, but I often get the feeling we’re overlooked and don’t matter [“Party Foul: A Closer Look at WNC’s Unaffiliated Voters,” May 25, Xpress].

Surveys reported in the news media frequently report the breakdown of what Democrats and Republicans think about various issues but leave out independents. Do they think our views don’t matter or that we all just lean toward one party or the other so they can leave us out? A lot of independents do lean one way or the other, but that doesn’t mean our opinions shouldn’t be included. There are also many truly independent swing voters, enough to determine the outcome of the last three presidential elections (by 8 points for Obama, 4 points for Trump and 13 points for Biden).

A national nonprofit organization, independentvoting.org, is conducting an opinion survey of independent voters to find out about why they’re independent and their views of the state of U.S. politics. I did the survey recently and was relieved to see that there are only eight questions, and seven just require checking a box. The survey just took a few minutes, and they don’t require a contribution. Anyone interested can go to the website [avl.mx/bo9] and click on the “survey” tab. Participants will get a summary of the survey results when it’s completed.

— Hugh McCollum


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One thought on “Letter: Do unaffiliated voters matter?

  1. SpareChange

    While I’d be curious what the survey shows, it almost seems that the writer is looking for unaffiliated voters to be viewed and treated as a coherent voting bloc (similar to a political party). However, unaffiliated voters are going to run the full spectrum of views, and for one reason or another have already decided to avoid formal party affiliation. Most probably don’t need or want to be categorized, characterized or cultivated by modern campaigns. It’s better that candidates are left guessing how to best appeal to this otherwise ill-defined mass of unaffiliated voters. It may broaden their perspective and their positions, avoiding the narrow, “playing to the base” thinking that has given rise to polarized extremes in our politics. I’d rather be considered part of less predictable, somewhat nebulous group that politicians have to be concerned about, than a defined and predictable voting bloc to be “targeted.”

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