Voices & Choices

In Wisconsin, independent voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats

In Wisconsin, independent voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats

In battleground Wisconsin, Republicans and Democrats are both eyeing the midterms - particularly the closely contested gubernatorial and senate races - as crucial victories.

But party leaders, pollsters and political commentary have overlooked a key element their wartime strategy: independent and third party voters.

And as a new pair of polls from Suffolk University and Marquette University Law School show, that’s a significant oversight.

More than 26 percent of those surveyed in Suffolk’s latest poll “lean toward” being independent, a third party or are undecided. Marquette’s poll suggested the percentage was even larger: 37 percent of survey-takers identified as independent, versus the 33 percent Republican and 30 percent Democrat, not including for those who “lean” toward a particular party.

Yet an increasingly partisan divide continues to eat away at Wisconsin’s politics, leaving independent and third party voters feel “like they’re watching the political wars from the sidelines,” as Craig Gilbert writes for The Milwaukee Journal.

Gilbert maintains optimism that independent and third-party voters “have more power than they realize and it will be felt in November.”

But the fact remains that a plurality voting system allows partisanship to thrive at the expense of any viewpoints outside the two major parties. Ranked choice voting ends the battle between political parties and opens the field to candidates and voters of all political stripes.

No war, no one left watching from the sidelines.

Read Gilbert’s article here.

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