Arizona’s independents eat bugs 

And are vitally important but hard to predict in 2024 election

Sasha Hupka

Hey there, readers! Welcome back to The Recount. Today, we’re talking about independent voters, a population that has long captured national attention.

Arizona’s independents are nearly certain to play a key role in determining the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. Almost every campaign staffer and news reporter is trying to keep an eye on their mood, myself included.

Here’s the catch: They aren’t a monolith. One of these all-important voters decried former President Donald Trump as “delusional” in an interview with Reuters last summer. Another bashed President Joe Biden to an NBC News reporter around the same time.

Independent voters will play a key role in selecting the winner of the presidential election, but they’re hard to predict.

They aren’t all swing voters, either. Pollsters and strategists across the aisle generally agree that most have strongly held political views and largely align with the Republican or Democratic parties. Plus, independents are somewhat less likely than other voters to actually turn out for elections.

All of that makes it hard to guesstimate the feelings and influence of the relatively small pool of independents who are willing to vote for both parties on their ballot and are likely to show up at the polls. Still, there are a few clues.

Arizona’s swing voters have soundly rejected Trump-aligned candidates in recent election cycles, which would seem to indicate that isn’t a winning strategy here in the desert.

I crunched some voter registration data and found Yuma County has the highest percentage of independents in the state, with about 39% of the county’s registered voters eschewing political parties.

That was surprising to me, so I reached out to Yuma County Recorder Richard Colwell in hopes he could shed light on why.


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February 2024