With the decline in popular attachment to the two major parties in the United States since the mid-1960s, collective political independence has risen. Using new survey questions introduced in 1980, this article employs alternative measures of independence to reassess the phenomenon of independence in America. These new measures give us fresh insights beyond what we had using only the traditional measures. One casualty of this new approach is the portrait of the Independent given by The American Voter. This portrait appears seriously misleading, given that it is those who deny being either partisan or Independent who fit that portrait – not Independents per se. And the most politically involved voters turn out to be Independent Partisan Supporters; not simple partisans.
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