A series of recently released polls shows that President Trump is losing support among independent voters, a growing segment of the population that was key to his victory in 2016. According to the 2016 US House exit polls, Trump carried Independents by 4 points (46% – 42%); other analyses give him a larger advantage. With the Republicans facing difficult contests in marginal suburban districts across the country, a significant deterioration of support among independent voters could be catastrophic to their efforts. In wave elections, the independent vote serves as a useful barometer for the depth of the change.
Looking at Previous Wave Elections
|Election||Independent Vote Share||Democrats||Republicans||Seat Change|
2006 – 2014: CBS/NYT Exit Polls
2016: CNN National Exit Poll
2018: Quinnipiac University poll, Sept 2018
As shown in the table above, a significant swing in support among independents can be a hallmark of a wave election—this is especially true in midterm elections, where Democratic turnout has generally been affected to a greater degree. With less than two months to go before election day, the most recent polls give Democrats an advantage among Independents, but it is too early to tell.