Florida’s independent voters are either too conservative for the Republican Party, too liberal for the Democrats — or too, well, independent for either. They are all over the political map — an apt reflection of Florida, a state with a little bit of everywhere else.
But ultimately, they’ll cast the deciding votes that guarantee President Barack Obama a second term or help Mitt Romney unseat him.
Public-opinion surveys have swung left and right with the mood of independents. But they’re starting to settle on Romney.
A Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald/Tampa Bay Times survey found Romney winning 49-43 among independents.
An unscientific Miami Herald email survey of 2,051 registered no-party-affiliation voters who cast absentee ballots found they favored Obama 51-44 percent.
The responses generated from the email survey helped show what makes independents tick — and what ticks them off.
“I have vowed to never again vote for a candidate with a "D" or an "R" after their name. They are nothing but tools of the big corporations and their lobbyists,” Bob Knott, a Freeport voter said.
“Unfortunately, some people in your industry incur a big portion of the blame for this situation.”
Knott’s sentiment spanned the political spectrum, with some calling the media too conservative and others thinking it’s too liberal.
The email survey mirrored scientific polls in this regard: It showed Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson faring much better than Obama, beating U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV. A handful of voters said they were voting for Romney and Nelson, with one describing Mack’s campaign as pathetic.
Many of the independents sounded as if they were more motivated to vote against a candidate — mainly Obama or Romney — and less interested in actually voting for their candidate of choice, whether it was Romney or Obama. “We need jobs and economic growth,” wrote Chris Highmark, a Collier County voter, who cast his absentee ballot from Paradise Valley, Arizona.
“Obama’s tax policies will not only lead to a recession in 2013,” Highmark wrote, “but will suffocate future economic growth as both large and small businesses will not take the risks needed to grow the economy because the potential rewards will not overcome the risks.”