The one clear answer is that the 2.6 million registered No Party Affiliated (NPA) Florida independent voters have the potential to significantly influence future elections.
Florida Independent Voting.Org analyzed district-by-district statistics from the Division of Elections on voter registration and election results in 2012. We applied hypothetical voting percentages to each race to see what combined voting percentages of Democrats and NPA voters might accomplish in future elections by voting for Democratic candidates.
We did not analyze a combination of Republican and NPA voters since Republicans hold significant majority’s statewide and nationally. Additionally, the most recent Pew Research Center poll (2012) on changing voter demographics indicates that 48 percent of independents tend to lean democratic.
The 2013-2014 Florida U.S. Congressional delegation includes 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats; a 63% Republican majority.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, 2012 voter turnout averaged 71.5 percent. If we apply this percentage to Democratic and NPA voters that did not vote in 2012, the result flips to a Democratic majority (17 – 10). Only 2 of the 27 seats featured unopposed candidates.
The University of Virginia Center for Politics’ “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” projects three 2014 election seats as a toss-up, one seat as likely Republican, and one seat as leaning Republican.FIV projects that 4 seats could become Democratic in 2014 given the large numbers of NPA voters and the assumption that a mid-term election would result in a “high” voter turnout.
If the U.S. Congressional District 13 special election to fill Bill Young’s seat results in a Democratic win, 2014 could be a tipping point for Democrats. Given the public disgust with the 2013 government shutdown and the brinksmanship over the artificial debt limit, independent-minded NPA voters could swing democratic if they see Republicans as the reason for the gridlock.
Most recently, the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act may influence 2014 election results depending on how well the Obama administration is able to recover from the debacle. Additionally, in 9 of the 27 races Democrats and independents voted Republican in significant numbers.
This calls into question what voter registration really means in Florida, but we leave that to the reader to decide.
The 2013-2014 Florida Senate includes 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats — a 65% Republican majority.
If we apply the average voter turnout percentage to Democratic and NPA voters that did not vote in 2012, the chart below shows a dramatic, but unrealistic swing to a 29–11 Democratic majority.
Of the 30 Senate races, only 3 (10%) were unopposed races. If districts that had a significant number of Democratic and NPA people voting Republican are considered safe seats, a vote swing of 6 seats is still possible in the other races.
The 6 seat swing would yield a 50/50 split in the Senate. This analysis assumes the districts that were not up for re-election (Florida has term limits) remain unchanged.
The 2013-2014 Florida State Legislature includes 75 Republicans and 45 Democrats; a 63% Republican majority.
If we apply the average voter turnout percentage to Democratic and NPA voters that did not vote in 2012, the chart below shows a dramatic swing in theory. However, the reality of Florida elections tells a different story.
- Actual election results show effects of apparent gerrymandering where over 49 percent of races (59 seats; 37 Republican and 22 Democrat) were uncontested.
- Of 61 contested seats, 11 featured Republican versus NPA candidates with no Democratic Party opposition.
- Further, 20 percent (24) of contested races had significant numbers of Democrats and independents voting Republican.
- FIV’s analysis indicates that16 potential reversible seats were questionable due to low swing voter margins (<15,000 votes).
- The recent win in Florida House District 36 (Amanda Murphy) was made possible by independents voting democratic.
- In sum, approximately 10 Republican incumbent seats appear to be reversible, not enough to achieve parity between the parties.
In summary, FIV’s hypothetical analyses show that anything is possible in elections. The large number of Democrats and independents voting for Republican candidates raises all sorts of questions when trying to predict election outcomes. The lack of democratic candidates in districts where Republican and Democrat registration is nearly equal raises a question about party leadership and strength.
Clearly future redistricting needs to happen to reduce the number of uncontested races. Gerrymandering is certainly present in the Florida House races but not as significant a factor in congressional and Florida Senate races. Strong candidates and voter turnout are still the determining factor; independent voters can and will influence outcomes in future elections.
Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.
Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes ran for President as a Republican against Woodrow Wilson in 1916. A question arose about his eligibility to be President, as Hughes was born in the United States to alien parents. The contention was while Mr. Hughes was a native-born Citizen he was not a natural born-Citizen.
Breckinridge Long was a well-known Democrat who worked for a years in the State Department and was appointed by FDR ambassador to Italy in 1933.
Charles Evans Hughes resigned from the Supreme Court on June 10, 1916 to run for President. Breckinridge Long wrote an article entitled: Is Mr. Charles Evans Hughes a “Natural Born Citizen” published in Chicago Legal News, Vol. 146-148, pp. 220-222;
Long stated, the Constitution placed a specific requirement on those who
become President and Vice-President. For all other offices one must be a “Citizens of the United States”, but for President and Vice-President they must be “natural-born Citizens.”
The word “natural” means “of nature”; “naturally a part of”; “by the laws of nature an essential part of” a structure. A “natural born citizen” is one who naturally, at birth, is a member of the society; naturally; -by the laws of nature a citizen of the society into which he is born.
No other sovereign has claim on him; his only allegiance is to the nation into which he was born and that nation is responsible for his protection.
“Native born” does not denote the same meaning. He could be born in a country under circumstances like those of Hughes (born in the U.S. to alien parents), and later become a citizen of the country of his birth. After he became a citizen, he would be a “native-born” citizen, but would not be a “natural-born Citizen”. From his birth the U.S. government was not the only sovereign responsible for his protection.
Long stated, a man born on U.S. soil to alien parents, had dual citizenship and owed a double allegiance. Anyone born in that duel circumstances could later choose his citizenship and allegiance.
Anyone from birth who owes, or may owe, allegiance to a foreign sovereign is not a “natural-born Citizen“.
Under the Military draft law of 1862, due to the Civil War, the following persons were excused by the U.S. Government from being drafted into the army:
(1) All foreign born persons who have not been naturalized; and
(2) All persons born of foreign parents and who have not become citizens.
Long stated, the government Mr. Hughes sought to preside over as President classified him as an “Aliens” in the year he was born (1862) and drew a distinction between him and “natural born Citizens”.
In 1916, Breckenridge Long, wrote the following in the Chicago Legal News:
“It is not disputed [i.e., claimed] that Mr. Hughes is not a citizen of the United States, but… if he had the right to elect, he must have had something to choose between. He was native born because he was born in this country, and he is now a native born citizen because he is now a citizen of this country; but, had he been a “natural born” citizen, he would not have had the right to choose between this country and England; -he would have had nothing to choose between. He would have owed his sole allegiance to the government of the United States, and there would have been no possible question, -whether he found himself in the United States or in any other country in the world, that he would be called upon to show allegiance to any Government but that of the United States.”
Some candidates for President have had questionable heritage problems regarding their natural-born Citizenship status. Two have become President. The first was Chester A. Arthur and the second Barack H. Obama.
In 1880, while running for Vice-President with President James A. Garfield, Arthur P. Hinman made a charge that Chester Arthur was ineligible to be Vice-President because in was born in Ireland or Canada. The charge was discredited but Hinman went on to write a book called, “How a British Subject Became President of the United States” Arthur was not a natural-born citizen, but not for the reason claimed by Hinman. He was ineligible because his father was a British Subject at the time of his birth. Arthur, a lawyer, repeatedly gave false and misleading statements to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper concerning his father’s heritage, immigration status and age. Later, Arthur burned most of his family documents. He even lied about his own age. He claimed to have been born in 1830, the date recorded on his gravestone. His attempts to conceal his father’s history suggest he was aware of his ineligibility, per Article 2, Section 1 and the Law of Nations, to be President or Vice-President.
To those of you that offered that leaning or voting conservative consider the fact that the U.S. Congress is gridlocked because of "conservative" thinking. I just finished reading Joe Scarborough's book "The Right Path". It has some good advice for real conservatives. The reason so many people are registering as NPAs is that neither party cares about the voters that put them in office. While the Tea Party has seemingly solid principles, they have lost sight of the fact that our Constitutional Republic was founded on majority vote. Harry Reid is just as bad given the "pocket veto" approach to doing business in the Senate.
Let's elect people at both the state and national levels that are more interested in doing the right thing than getting re-elected or stopping reasonable legislators from doing the job we expect of them.
Thanks for the comments
The bringing down of the US is a planned agenda which started before the Norquest Pledge (no taxes at all cost). The finalazation was started under Bush with a dramatic increase in jobs moving overseas as immigrants were invited here to do the jobs they told us "Americans would not do". Then the politicians who are controlled by big business working with Wall Street used scam housing loans to destroy our housing industry and tried for our auto industry; warning Obama not to help them. This alone shows they wanted our economy to fell and were well on their way. If Obama had not won we would have landed in the depression they had planned for us, not the recession that resulted from their actions. Then this congress in the last 5 years voted against ending tax breaks for companies leaving the US and then voted giving those same tax breaks to those same companies to come beack to the US. Wars were started with lies to occupy our minds and to eat our tax dollars. These are acts of treason by Bush, Cheney & the GOP. These acts of treason left us with over 10 million unemployed American citizens. And today they work to add 10+ million (invited) illegal immigrants to our 10 million unemployed Americans. This makes sure Americans can't get what jobs are available. And today we hear that we need more immigrants with higher level degrees to come here, while we have unemployed Americans with those desired degrees who can't get those jobs. http://news.yahoo.com/u-business-leader-remains-confident-boehner-seek-immigration-201821842.html … "help business get needed workers" while there are 10+ million unemployed American citizens. This party works to elminate our middle class to guarantee big business slave wages at all cost.
I would normally agree, Duncan but as I see the stae of the union right now......we need a strong constitutional, patriototic party such as the tea party.
I have a problem with Independents, They win on a Conservative ticket, and then they sit on the fence, and do what they want to.
Most of us NPA's are NPA because we like to vote on people and not parties! I don't vote for the party line, or vote for one so the other won't win and I sure don't for the "lesser of 2 evils" either! Voters wonder why we have idiots running the offices. It's because you voted for it! DUH! I research ALL the candidates on a ballot and try to decide who is the best qualified person to get the job done! Your vote is supposed to be for hiring someone to do a job! In the 2014 elections the Libertarians are looking really good for my vote. I'll keep my options open until the election. So far I like Adrian Wyllie better than Charlie Crist and Rick Scott just needs to be voted out of office! Crist & Scott are too busy slinging mud at each other instead of focusing on the issues like Wyllie is doing! I'm not worried how the NPA's will vote, I'm worried about what the voters who don't research their options will be voting on!
They will vote for the most persuasive liar who uses the most emotionally-appealing rhetoric. Typically, this is a Democrat, but not always.
Yes y'all, because a conservative Florida with a proclivity for backwards ideas like stand your ground laws has done wonders for our country. Vote how you like, it's your right and your duty, but be educated about politics, too. Anything related to a 'conservative' Florida has not done anything good for our country in a long, long time. And the Tea Party may be slightly reasonable (along with Christian conservatives) if they actually understood and acted on principles they make noise about. Unfortunately, that's rarely, if ever, been the case.
I want to take the time to say independent voters shouldn't act like they are somehow above those who pick a party or smarter than them. Chances are both bush and Obama got into office because of the "independent vote." And now we are where we are. Food for thought.
NPAs must organize and use their collective voting power to make the political parties take notice and begin to appeal to a wide variety of voters.
Well done, Ray!
@Janice Berntsen-Schmitz I'm not sure how you can draw that conclusion. Independents voted for Obama in 2008 and for Romney in 2012. They helped a Democrat win a special election in Florida and could do it again in another special election in early 2014.
If you have some data, I would love to review it. Independents don't have a strong voice in our elections because they can't vote in primaries in Florida. We need Top 2 Open Primaries to help focus on candidate's ideas not their party affiliation. I would no more vote for an independent than a R or D without knowing where they stand on issues that matter to Florida and our nation.
@WilliamDail You are so right. Florida Independent Voting.org (www.fivorg.com) is actively seeking to change Florida's primary election system to a Top 2 Open Primary like Washington State and California have. While Top 2 isn't a fix for everything it is a building block that helps Independents and NPAs become part of the process at the front end not in the general election when someone else chose the candidates you have to vote for.
Thanks for the comment
@Dan McCormic You broke the code. Now all we need are candidates that stand for something rather than attacking the opponent because they have no solutions.
@Rick Spargo I'd be interested in your thoughts after you read Joe Scarborough's book "The Right Path". I don't know if you consider him a credible source or not. The Republican Party needs to stand for something. Just say NO is not a helpful approach to governing. If they practice "real" conservatism we would be much better off. Don't get me wrong, the Dem's are equally to blame given Harry Reid's incompetence.
@Adam Wade Mayo While they may not be "fixed" the tons and tons of money distort the process so much that it is hard to find a candidate worthy of our vote. Take a look at www.represent.us to find out what they are doing about money in politics. They have some good ideas that citizens should get behind. You can also Google "The American Anti-Corruption Act" and learn more.