Democrats need the Independent Voters to keep the Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo) a polling location in Hillsboro, Va., in 2018

If the Democrats can keep the support of Independent Voters, they can win key swing States and maintain control of the Senate. But who are they? And what do they want?

A popular image of an independent voter is a white middle-class suburbanite. But that image, if it was ever true, is far more complex.

One surprising finding that came out of a Pew Research study of independent voters was that they had a most significant share of those under the age of fifty (62%) compared to the Democrats (50%) or the Republicans (44%). That younger slice of the voting population is why the following policies rank within the top ten issues of importance to Independents: debt-free state college, a $15 minimum wage, and legalizing marijuana. Democrats attract independent voters that they lead on these issues, not the Republicans.

Another research finding was that more men than women identified as independent voters. Pew reported: Men constitute a majority (56%) of independents. That is higher than the share of men among Republican identifiers (51% are men) and much higher than the share of men among Democrats (just 40%). Democratic candidates must consider the prominent presence of independent male voters when they approach all issues. Candidate Joe Biden made more significant headway in getting male voters. He evenly split their vote with Trump, unlike in 2016 when Trump won men by 11 points

On the downside for Democrats is a growing trend of more minority voters becoming independent voters. A Gallup poll from 2012 found that many independent voters are indeed white. However, non-Hispanic whites comprise 89% of Republicans while Indies are at 70% Republicans. Democrats are 60% white.

The largest minority appearing among Independent Voters is Hispanic, comprising 16%, where only 6% of Republicans are Hispanic, and Democrats are at 13%. Although, as early as 2012, half of Hispanics identified as independents, their voting pattern is noticeably

drifting away from supporting Democrats.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s aggregation of all available polls, Hispanics have turned away from Biden more than any other racial or ethnic group. Moreover, their distancing from the Democrats began before Biden…