Independent voters will decide outcome of mid-term election

Independent voters are expected to make a huge impact on the mid-term election.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 7:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The races in Arizona this election will likely be shaped by independent voters.

Democrats will vote for Democrats, mostly.

Republicans will vote for Republicans, mostly.

But who will the 1,404,385 independents vote for?

“I think they’ll go towards moderation or stay home,” said Independent Steve Lynn, who was the first independent on the Independent Redistricting Commission in 2000. “Those are the two choices.”

Lynn, who has also done polling for campaigns, said it’s not a surprise to him that people are leaving the parties.

“I’ve heard several people say I’m tired of it, I’m tired of the contentious, often not unscrupulous, but mean and nasty interactions between the two parties and they don’t want to have it anymore,” he said.

So they register as nonaffiliated or have no party preference. And they tend to be young. Will they turn out is the big unanswered question. Young people don’t generally turn out in significant numbers although 2020 was an outlier.

Will 2022 be the same?

“If they are not so disgusted that they stay home, I think they will make a significant difference up and down the ballot,” Lynn said.

Meantime, there are those who feel that the continued move towards non-preference and away from the parties is not a healthy sign for democracy.

“I think ultimately right now, it’s bad for democracy,” said Jeff Rogers, former chair of the Democratic Party. “They’re running away from both parties and that’s causing both parties to be running more extreme candidates.”

And as the candidates get more extreme, so does the politics.

“I don’t think that’s a good thing for Democracy all around or in Arizona,” Rogers said.

The early returns show a big turnout for Democrats, more than GOP and Independents combined.

Of 155,000 early ballots returned so far, 79,000 are Democrats, 42,000 are GOP, and 32,000 are Independents. But Republican voter will likely skip mail-in ballots and vote in person.

Looking at those early numbers, as the campaigns have, means some are changing strategy.

“Some of the candidates were looking pretty extreme in their primary campaign, are now trying to look more centrist and reasonable in the general because they know Independents are going to make the difference,” Lynn said.