Independents? In Florida?
By Jon Cohen
Independents helped lift John McCain to victory in Florida. Really. As widely (and accurately) reported, Florida's GOP primary was limited to registered Republicans, so how did independents play such a decisive role?
The answer is a twisted tale of state law, election procedures and survey research. But at root, there is a difference between party registration and party identification.
In some states, voters do not register by party; in others, non-party voters are allowed to participate in nomination contests. And registering for a party is not about subscribing to a fixed set of beliefs; anyone eligible to vote can declare themselves a Democrat or a Republican on the voter rolls.
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