Democrats starting to panic as independents abandon ship

“I think the economy is at the base of the tension,” she said. “Quite frankly, we’ve got to do a better job of messaging. There’s a lot of work to be done to get independents more comfortable with what we’re doing.”…

Andrew Myers, who polled for Democrats in Virginia House of Delegates races this year, said his analysis of exit polls indicated that voters had come to see Democrats as a party of high spending — too willing to make a rush for the pocketbooks and unable to effectively articulate how their health care reform push benefited independents, many of whom already have insurance plans.

“This is what’s particularly heartbreaking: There is a real sense that no one in Congress is standing up for them,” said Myers. “It’s a real problem for messaging for us.”…

Democrats also argue that with polls showing fewer voters identifying themselves as Republicans, the pool of independent voters is simply becoming more conservative than in the past, as those formerly Republican voters move into that camp. An October Washington Post/ABC News survey, for example, found just 20 percent of those polled identifying themselves as Republican.

“It looks a lot worse than it really is,” said John Anzalone, a veteran Democratic pollster. “Independents aren’t just falling away from Democrats.”