Pew: Independents now for GOP

In an ominous sign for President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, independent voters now favor Republicans by nearly the same margins that they went for Obama in 2008 and for his party in the 2006 midterms, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released Wednesday.

Unlike the most recent election cycles, when independents complained about the lack of progress in Washington on major issues facing the country, these critical swing voters now are expressing high anxiety with what Congress and the White House have already done.

“Trust in government is at one of the lowest points in 60 years of polling,” Kohut [president of the Pew Research Center] said. “It’s a backlash against what is seen as government policies and programs that are too liberal or too much in the vein of government expansion.”

Among them, 49 percent said they will support a GOP candidate, compared with 36 percent who are likely to vote Democratic — and that “is a pivotal factor behind the Republican Party’s overall 7-point lead among all likely voters at this point in the campaign,” the Pew report notes.