(Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
Some political insiders are claiming that major media outlets and certain pollsters are ignoring the role Independent voters are playing in the November election, including results that are favorable to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
The latest CBS poll from Florida shows President Obama leading Romney by nine points, 53 to 44 percent. But former President George W. Bush lieutenant and now political strategist Karl Rove appeared on Erin Burnett's show on CNN Thursday night to make the case that there is little chance that Romney is lagging behind Obama by such a large margin.
"Think about this, Romney and Obama get about the same percentage from their base as their opponent," said Rove. "That is to say they carry their base overwhelmingly. Romney, among Independents, is winning by three points. So if he's winning the Independents and Republicans, then he can't be nine points down in Florida."
The reason Independents are so valued nearly every election cycle is because they tilt the scales in most presidential elections. In 2008 then Sen. Barrack Obama won the Independent vote in Ohio by 8 points and in Florida by 7 points. Obama ended up winning the two states by 4.5 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.
Both Ohio and Florida remain key battleground states in this election, too.
Political analysts maintain that the mainstream media is paying little to no attention to the Independent vote and instead they are focusing on the "women" vote. Some of these same analysts say the "oversampling" of Democrats in Florida and Ohio polls is the main reason why Obama is leading by such a large margin.
Here is a sampling of several polls that have been conducted recently in Ohio and Florida that show Romney leading:
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac – Romney +1
American Research Group – Romney +16
Fox News – Romney +4
We Ask America – Romney +3
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac – Romney +3
Fox News – Obama +2
We Ask America – Romney +2
"Independents make up roughly one third of the electorate, and one would think they might get a little attention this time of year just as they do every other election year," wrote Dustin Hawkins in a Thursday column on Breitbart.com.
"If Romney turns the Independent vote his way like these polls suggest, his chances of winning turnout in even Florida and Ohio are excellent. But the reality is that the way Independents are now voting simply doesn't mix with the media's tidy narrative that Obama is running away with the election in key battleground states."
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics sees the race coming down to seven states.
"Both parties are sensibly planning for a close election. For all the talk about how Hispanics or young people will vote, the private chatter is about a few vital swing states. It's always the Electoral College math that matters most," wrote Sabato in The Wall Street Journal.
"That's why seven super-swing states with 85 electors will determine which party gets to the magic number of 270 electoral votes: Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13)."