JLF head John Hood in his column last week wrote about the importance of unaffiliated voters, which make of 27 percent of all registered voters in the state. That does not mean that over a quarter of the state’s voters are swing voters. As John notes:
Nevertheless, a fair reading of the two sets of data would be that a large share of unaffiliated voters in North Carolina — perhaps a third or more — are in practice Republican voters. If you add in a small number of unaffiliated voters who reliably behave as Democrats, it would be reasonable to consider something like 10 to 15 percent of the electorate to be truly unaligned.
That’s still a significant share. It means that candidates can’t win just by turning out their base. They have to swing some unaligned voters their way. But be careful not to exaggerate the number — or to use party registration as a guide for evaluating survey results and prognosticating elections.