One of the media mistakes that drives me the most nuts is when 'moderates' are conflated with 'independents.' This is most commonly a foible of TV news.
Democrats are in trouble with independents right now. They are not, however, in trouble with moderates.
Independents as a group of voters are somewhat conservative leaning. Our last national poll found that 56% of independents were moderates but that among the rest 33% were conservatives to just 11% liberals. Overall independents were planning to vote Republican for Congress this year by a 40-27 margin. But break that out a little further and while conservative independents are tending toward the GOP by a 68-7 margin moderate independents are tied up at 33. And among all moderates- since moderates continue to identify more as Democrats than Republicans- Democrats lead 46-31 on the generic ballot.
It's a similar story when it comes to moderates and independents and Barack Obama's approval rating. Independents are split 48/48 on Obama. But moderates approve of him by a 62/34 margin.
Independents and moderates are not the same thing- get it right media!