One common theme in all of our polling this week is that Republicans are running up the score with independents. Bob McDonnell has a 59-34 lead over Creigh Deeds with them, John Lassiter is up 51-31 over Anthony Foxx in Charlotte, and Chris Christie has a 44-25 advantage on Jon Corzine.
You might look at those numbers and say Republicans are winning voters in the middle, but there's a little more to it than that.
In Virginia 40% of independents are conservatives while only 4% are liberals. In New Jersey 28% are conservatives to 11% liberals. And in Charlotte 27% are conservatives and 10% are liberals.
As Republican identification levels hit record lows in a lot of polling those voters have to go somewhere and what they're doing is making the ranks of the independents more conservative and Republican leaning. They may be changing the way they label themselves but they're still around and voting the same way- just something to keep in mind when talking about the independent vote this year and moving on into 2010.