Independent’s Scorecard for the June 26 – 27 Presidential Primary Debates

Print out the scorecard for independent voters and use it to measure the appeal of each of the 20 candidates participating in the first Democratic Party presidential primary debates sponsored by NBC/MSNBC and Telemundo on June 26th and 27th.   Once you’ve completed the scorecard, scan it and send your results to national@independentvoting.org or use the online scorecard to enter your results.

We will tabulate your responses and release the results of the “independents’ scorecard” to the media.

Twenty candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination will appear in the first televised debates on Wednesday, June 26th and Thursday, June 27th.  By lottery the candidates were divided by NBC into two groups of ten.  The five debate moderators are:  Rachel Maddox, Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, José Diaz-Balart and Chuck Todd.

You can send a debate question to NBC here.

Democrats’ support among independent voters has declined over the last three presidential elections.  In 2008, Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama received 52% of the independent vote to John McCain’s 44%.  In 2012, independents broke for Republican Mitt Romney over Obama 50% to 45% and in 2016, for Trump over Clinton by a margin of 46% to 42%. Independents share of the electorate grew over the same period, from 29% in the 2008 and 2012 elections, to 31% of the electorate in 2016. While current polling shows a majority of independent voters inclined towards supporting a Democrat for President, the primary process is just getting underway.  In approximately half the states, including the early primary states of NH and SC, local Democratic Party organizations permit independents to vote in presidential primary elections.

Candidate Scorecard Questions:

  • Did any of the candidates mention independent voters?
  • Did any of the candidates give any indication that there is massive distrust with both parties, not just Trump and Republicans?
  • Did any of the candidates offer a critique of the parties?
  • Was political reform mentioned?
  • Were there any advocates for political reform among the candidates?
  • Did any of the candidates mention that 40% of the American people are independents?
  • Did any of the candidates strike you as being other than a politician?
  • Did any of the candidates express values that you felt close to?
  • Did any of the candidates put the interest of people before the interest of the parties?
  • Did any of the moderators speak about independent voters?
  • As an independent does the Democratic Party allow you to vote in the presidential primary in your state?

Last summer, over 5,000 independents participated in a summer survey conducted by Independent Voting. The survey asked unique questions about how independents view their place within the political system, their relationship to the parties and the rules of the electoral game. Survey Results – PDF

Independents are now the largest voting bloc in the American electorate according to Gallup, which has tracked voters by party affiliation for decades. This year the percentage of Americans who self-identify as independent has fluctuated between 41% – 45%, far outpacing both Democrats (27% – 32%) and Republicans (22% – 28%).

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