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Post- Super Tuesday

Image Credit: AP Photos via Politico

The media essentially called the GOP nomination over after Rick Santorum’s announcement that he was suspending his campaign shortly after the April 3rd primaries, where he lost to Mitt Romney in all 3 states. From March 13th to April 3rd eight primaries occurred, but for the purpose of this project we’ll leave out Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and Maryland to instead focus on the remaining 4 states that had Independent voter data and open or semi-closed primaries.

Santorum claimed victories in the 2 southern states (Alabama and Mississippi) and Romney was the clear winner in the Midwestern states (Illinois and Wisconsin).  In Alabama, 24% of voters polled by CBS News identified themselves as Independent or something else and of those, 33% voted for Santorum.  In Mississippi, far fewer voters (16%) claimed that they normally voted as Independents or something else and of those Santorum took the lead by just 1 point with 29% over Romney’s 28%.  Just over a quarter of those polled in Illinois (26%) checked off Independent, but of those voters, nearly half voted for Romney (44%).  Wisconsin also saw higher figures with 30% identifying as Independents or something else and 38% selecting Romney as their top choice.

It’s hard to say how much of an impact these “purple” voters had during the primaries, but it’s safe to say that the majority tended to vote with their states.  The Southern states usually have stronger conservative values, so the clear choice would be Rick Santorum.  In the Midwestern states of Illinois and Wisconsin, these voters once again appeared to vote with their states by choosing a more moderate candidate.

There is no doubt that the independent vote matters and will play a crucial role during the general election when Obama and Romney fight to win this elusive voting bloc’s approval. According to the moderate think take “Third Way”,  Independent voters will make up the biggest portion of the electorate in 2012 than in any election since 1976.  More importantly, among the twelve likely battleground states, eight have partisan registration.   According to another report released by Third Way,  “the number of Independents is up 3.4% in those states—while Democrats have dropped 5.4% and Republicans have fallen by 3.1%.”

Independents Day 2012 [Infographic]

For more on the analysis of the Independent voter and a prediction of the 2012 process, click here for an interview with Professor Danny Hayes at American University.

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