Using a face-to-face survey conducted in Fall 2018, this study examines attitudinal differences between Independents and partisan voters regarding (1) ideological orientations, (2) issue positions, and (3) emotional reactions to political parties and politicians. Results from statistical analysis show that Independents tend to clearly distinguish themselves from partisan voters, but their issue positions are not consistently discernable from those of partisans. Instead, statistically significant division in terms of emotional reactions to political parties and politicians exists between Independents and partisan voters. These findings suggest that self-reported Independents, albeit ideologically closer to a party than the other, do claim that they are not partisan, because they have anti-establishment attitudes due to lack of enthusiasm about pre-existing political parties and politicians. In order to mobilize these self-reported Independents, it is necessary to draw positive emotional reactions from them. In a polarized political environment, adjusting issue positions to address Independents is not sufficient to earn more votes in the election.
II. Independents in the Ideological Polarization
III. Data and Measure
V. Summary and Conclusion