Are Independents Just Democrats and Republicans by Another Name?

A new Gallup finds a record number of independent. But don't expect a golden age of moderation any time soon.

Campaigners parade along the sidewalks as people head to their polling stations to vote in today's run-off Senate election between incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on December 6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

According to a Gallup poll out on Thursday, more Americans than ever—46 percent—self-identify as “independent.” But before the trumpets are sounded for a new, free-thinking, gridlock-free world of unaffiliated, presumably moderate voters, it’s important to parse what this might mean—especially given the deep divisions that still cleave the country.

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