07/02/2007 04:57 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

POLL: Post/Kaiser/Harvard on Independents

The front page of Sunday's Washington Post featured their major new survey of self-identified
political independents conducted with Harvard University
and the Kaiser Family Foundation (story,
). The survey consisted of a base random sample of 2,140 all adults,
plus an unspecified number of "additional interviews with randomly selected
self-identified independents for a total of 1,014 political independents."

The findings among independents confirm many of the findings
reported elsewhere. Two excerpts from the Post
article (percentages among all independents added in brackets):

Fueled by dissatisfaction with the
president and opposition to the Iraq
war, independents continue to lean heavily toward the Democrats. Two-thirds [67%]
said the war is not worth fighting, three in five [62%] said they think the United States cannot stabilize Iraq, and three in five [62%] believed that the
campaign against terrorism can succeed without a clear victory in Iraq...

Seventy-seven percent of
independents said they would seriously consider an independent presidential
candidate, and a majority [56%] said they would consider supporting Bloomberg,
whose recent shift in party registration from Republican to unaffiliated stoked
speculation about a possible run in 2008.

The most unique aspect of the study was their ability to
disaggregate independents, confirming something political scientists and
campaign strategists have long believed: the "independent" label encompasses a variety
of different political orientations and philosophies. Again, from the Post story (with percentages among all
independents added):

Five categories of independents
emerged from the analysis of the survey results:

"Deliberators" [18%], who are
classic swing voters.

"Disillusioned" [18%], who are
acutely upset with politics today.

"Dislocated" [16%], who are
both social liberals and fiscal conservatives.

"Disguised" [24%], who are
partisans on the left and right who behave almost identically to Democrats or

"Disengaged" [24%], who
generally sit on the political sidelines.

This brief block quote does the study little justice. Both full
and the graphic summaries
of each of the above cluster groupings are worth reading in full.