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Independents More Important Now Than Ever

By: Mark Tenia Email
By: Mark Tenia Email

June 12, 2008

There just aren't enough Republicans out there to carry this thing nationally for us. It's a statement made by Virginia Republican Congressman Tom Davis last week during a meeting with reporters. Saying McCain must focus on independent voters to have any shot at winning.

A view echoed by political analysts and Democrats.

"And I think that Congressman Davis is correct that John McCain does need to appeal to independent voters as well as to those within his own party. That's something he has a history of doing so he has a chance for success there," said Matt Smyth of the Center for Politics at UVa.

"I think John McCain absolutely has to get independents in order to win. I think Obama is going to go after independents. He doesn't need them to the same extent as McCain does," said Virginia Delegate David Toscano, D-57th.

But Barack Obama will need to carry some independent voters, many of whom are still unsure of who he is. A recent poll of independents sponsored by a non partisan group hosted by the University of Virginia showed they had bigger misconceptions about Obama than McCain.

Plus McCain's maverick identity could prove to be very helpful in wooing some independent voters.

"In fact he's clashed with his own party on several occasions. So those types of independents I think will look at McCain and see some positive qualities there," said Smyth.

Independents McCain will need with less and less Americans identifying themselves right now as Republicans.

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