June 19th, 2008
12:25 PM ET

How can the candidates win the middle?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/19/art.split.candidates.jpg]
Eric Bloom
AC360° Staff

We have been largely focused on how Obama and McCain can unite their respective parties and turn out the base. But some believe the real battleground will take place among independents, which account for 37% of the voters (Pew). According to two recent polls- Washington Post and CNN – independents are evenly divided between the two candidates. So how do Obama and McCain appeal to independents? Now with the general election in full gear, how much will the candidates move to the middle? What issues are important to independents? Please let us know what you think.

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    I'm an independent and this election while I am concerned about health care, the war, and the economy I'm also after 8 years of Bush interested in a candidate that will uphold and defend our constitution instead of running rough shod over it. Bush ignored the Court, ignored Congress ignored the people, and ignored the Constitution – I want to see a candidate with intelligence, who will defend our Constitution and our country with his last breath and be accountable to the citizens in this country.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 19, 2008 at 8:37 pm |
  2. Ann

    I've always been democrat but not this election. Guess I'll have to go as an independent..maybe write Hillary's name on the ballot. Hopefully by the time of the convention, she'll be back on the ballot. God only knows what will surface with Obama between now and then.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  3. tony spoon

    Bush has made the federal gov.so big the boston harbor wouldnot hold it,however it would be a good start.Gulf of mexico could hold homeland security and the senate,there has to be a dump somewhere big enough for the house of rep.or you could just spread it on a bunch of farms.that's all the lot in washington is fit for fertilizers.would be sweet justice but the pigs would probably get sick.

    June 19, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  4. Joyce Spies- Wilmington, Ohio

    Once again we don't have choices. Southwest Ohio is a mess & getting worse. The congress isn't genuine & doesn't care; they are taken care of. Until there's even a congress that can work together & listen nothing will get better. I really (and others), say hurry up Lou announce you'll run; but it won't matter people don't work together & things are just getting worse. It's a shame to run for gov't. it means money as probably there are some really geniune people with great potential for this country but will never hold the positions. Our country has been sold out, outsourcing has empowered slave labor. ( look at what chineese workers expose themselves to & not by choice). Obama & Mccain are not our answer & many of those in Washington aren't either. It's sad our Gov't. is supporting theese abuses to the workers in the other countries & took them from us, to face homelessness, bankruptcy, no jobs available as you can't live on minimum wage. Unfortunately it goes on & on. For the sake of our children & others we can only pray for those in gov't & hope prayers are answered before they destroy our American children's lives as well!

    June 19, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  5. Marty, Idaho

    As a member of the so-called middle, who refuses to belong to one party or another, I will examine the issues (anyone remember them?), determine who best suits my views, and pick a candidate. So far, all I am hearing from either side is a bunch of childish bickering. Both will have to do better than that to win my vote.

    On a side note, I can NOT believe that some of you people are actually blaming independents for the Bush mess, especially on this question. It makes no sense to blame the person you are trying to win over. But, with the examples from each party, who can blame you for trying to start a fight rather than make a case.

    June 19, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  6. Cecil Jones

    Surprise, this election isn't about the "Middle." It's always been about taking a "Hard Right or Hard Left" approach to the future. The people in the "Middle" are a "Soft Marshmellow Center." The actual fight for the future was fought by the poles and that's why we are polarized. We gave the "Radical Right" the benefit of doubt on Iraq, WMD, Katrina, Bin Laden, Anthrax, Homeland Security, The TSA, Taxes, and the Selective Enforcement of the Law. Clearly the Right has failed and we all want change. McCain represents as far as the right will go left. Rudy is his natural running mate. The problem with this approach is it's all built on a "Big Lie." If the Right loses it's grip on telling the truth, this race is a landslide. The Left has fought the good fight, but we haven't won until we actually count the votes.

    June 19, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Susan


    Senator Obama is going to have to move more to the middle if he wants to appeal to Independents. He is for big government programs that are going to solve all of our problems. He is also for higher taxes even though he says that he is not. His programs will create hidden tax increases.

    I think it was a group of Independents that threw the tea into the Boston harbor to get rid of a big government that was interfering with their lives.



    June 19, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  8. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Obama should stress all the important issues that McCain is not going to be giving a second look like:
    universal health care, a woman’s right to choose, equal pay for women, bringing our troops home, talking with foreign leaders (not just allies), undoing tax breaks for rich folks who don’t need them, maybe putting that $10billion dollars a month we spend in Iraq to better use like researching alternative and renewable energy sources, making college affordable for every American not just a luxury. I could go on but you get the point.

    McCain should um…just sit this election out. He puts me to sleep he would probably put the independents to sleep.

    June 19, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  9. JC- Los Angeles

    As a registered, undecided, independent, I truly believe that the selction of VP will be paramount to each candidates success. The pundits will say that historically, VPs don't help decide general elections. This year I beg to differ. We have a multi-racial candidate; that never occurred before. We had a woman running for President; that never happened before. Times have changed. Both candidates need to immediately remove their wives from center stage and surround themselves with strong, experienced, charismatic associates that will give them credibility. Michelle Obama's presence marginalizes her husband and makes him look weak compared to her. Obama needs to surround himself with a strong second in command sooner rather than later. Even more so, McCain needs to surround himself with a tall, personable, articulate and experienced VP candidate. It will deflect attention from his infirm being. Since we live in a perception is reality world, the sooner these guys ditch their wives and stand beside a strapping VP, they will win the middle and knock out the opposition, period.

    June 19, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  10. Janna

    One thing that could sway independents might be a candidate who is prepared with a team of experts on all of the major issues. If they start building their staff with well known/trusted political powerhouses....for example- Al Gore to consult on environmental issues....then cover them all- foreign policy, education, etc.... This kind of attention to the big picture could impress some voters.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Fay, CA

    If some of these independent voters are content to see a continuation of the disastrous Bush Administration and its policies, they'll vote for McCain, but if they, like a majority of Americans, want this country to move in a completely different direction, then the choice is clear.

    June 19, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  12. Cindy

    I think that Obama is going to have to come more to the middle so to speak to get the independent votes while McCain is going to have to show that he is not another Bush and he sits in the middle also.

    Really I think that they both need to work on their own loyal party voters also! It seems that they aren't that enthralled with the middle of the road techniques!


    June 19, 2008 at 12:38 pm |
  13. Liv

    how? by being for all, honest, not overspending, do well for the country and world, give us the security of home, mind, peace, economy, education, no racism, no discriminations, no poverty. I look for someone as my father would be, no hype, no glitter, but fun, wisdom, love, understanding, caring, fairness, intelligence, lead by example........
    can any of them do this?

    June 19, 2008 at 12:38 pm |