Candidates Can Still Swing the Independent Voter

NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On October 3, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will engage in the first of their political debates, competing for the less-definitive votes that lie outside of their parties' bases. Voters from both parties are sure to tune in to watch them go head-to-head on the issues, but it is the Independent Voter for which the candidates will be vying. In anticipation of the political debates, consumer market research firm, Scarborough, reveals the voting behavior of the 11 percent of registered voters who self-identify as Independent*.

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By identifying the organizations to which Independent Voters made financial contributions in the past year, candidates can better plan which of their platforms to highlight most in the political debates. Independent Voters were 10 percent more likely than all U.S. registered voters to live in a household that contributed to a healthcare or medical organization in the past 12 months and six percent more likely to live in a household that donated to a military or veterans' organization. Following is the full breakdown of Independents' contributions by organization:

Organizations Household Contributed Money to in the Past 12 Months

% of Registered Voters Who Self-Identify as Independent







Social Care/Welfare










"Understanding which organizations Independents feel are worthy of their contributions allow candidates to identify the causes and issues that are top-of-mind this election year for voters who are not yet aligned with a single party," says Brian Condon, EVP of Commercial Development for Scarborough. "Demographics and geographics are always important when crafting outreach, but identifying the voting behavior and key issues that move people to action are also strong ways for politicians to analyze their target audiences."

Where can the candidates reach Independents with their messages once the political debates are over? On a typical weekday, 40 percent of Independent Voters read the print or online edition of their daily newspaper. Moreover, 29 percent have visited a newspaper or TV website in the past 30 days. Independent Voters are also 13 percent more likely than all registered voters to listen to Classic Rock and All Sports radio formats and 15 percent more likely to listen to Active Rock. On television, Independent Voters are 12 percent more likely than all registered voters to have watched the History Channel in the past seven days.

Independent Voters are also extremely active online. Those who access the Internet are 12 percent more likely than all Internet-using registered voters to spend 20 hours or more online per week and 17 percent more likely to spend five hours or more per day engaging in social networking. Seventeen percent of online Independent Voters say they read or contributed to a blog in the past 30 days.

When geo-targeting their messaging after the political debates, candidates are most likely to find Independent Voters in the northeast. The top local markets for registered voters who self-identify as Independent are: Providence, RI (27% of registered voter residents are Independents); Boston, MA (24%); Hartford, CT (21%); Des Moines, IA (19%) and Albany, NY (16%).

* For purposes of this analysis, Scarborough focuses only on those registered voters who might be called "pure" Independents—in other words, we exclude those Independents who indicate they "lean" toward one party or the other.

Continue the conversation or share your opinions with Scarborough over Twitter by reaching out to @ScarboroughInfo.

This data is from Scarborough USA+, Release 1, 2012. Scarborough measures 210,000 adults aged 18+ annually across a wide variety of media, lifestyle, shopping and demographic categories.

For more information regarding this or other Scarborough studies, please contact Brad Sherer at

About Scarborough Research

Scarborough (, measures American life. Our consumer insights reflect shopping patterns, media usage across platforms, and lifestyle trends for adults. Media professionals and marketers use Scarborough insights to make smarter marketing/business decisions on things like ad placement, multicultural targeting, and sponsorship opportunities. The company's core syndicated consumer insight studies in 77 Top‐Tier Markets, its Multi‐Market Study and its national USA+ Study are Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited. Other products and services include Scarborough Mid‐Tier Local Market Studies, Hispanic Studies and Custom Research Solutions. Scarborough measures 2,000 consumer categories and serves a broad client base that includes marketers, advertising agencies, print and electronic media (broadcast and cable television, radio stations), sports teams and leagues and out‐of‐home media companies. Surveying more than 210,000 adults annually, Scarborough is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. ( and The Nielsen Company (

SOURCE Scarborough Research