About one-third of Americans describe themselves as independent voters, creating a widespread impression that a large group of Americans will provide the decisive swing votes in this year’s presidential election. But that impression is misleading, polling experts and political scientists say.
Many self-described independents — close to half, according to surveys — reliably vote for one party or the other. And many true swing voters live in states, like California or Texas, where no analyst doubts the outcome in November.
In spite of clichés about Nascar dads and Walmart moms, the actual share of voters nationally who are up for grabs is probably between just 3 percent and 5 percent in this election, polling experts say. The Obama and Romney campaigns are expected to spend on the order of $2 billion, in part to try to sway this tiny share of the electorate.
$2 billion in campaign ads. The only winners in election years are the media conglomerates.