Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Andrew Sinclair

Rights Information

2023 Jacey L Carter


The United States of America has a two-party political system; however, over the past 70 years, the number of independent voters has increased. Some voters change their party affiliation to unaffiliated, nonpartisan, or independent - in other words, no longer register with the Republican or Democratic parties. Scholars debate whether independent voters are truly independent or if they are partisans in disguise. The literature suggests that some independents may reject formally registering with a political party but still hold partisan positions on policy issues. Meanwhile, some independents are uninvolved in politics and lack strong preferences. There is no unifying formal structure that unites independent or unaffiliated voters together, making it difficult to communicate with them during elections. In addition, polling and survey data do not always accurately represent all independent voters. Some may report findings from self-identified independents while others may report findings from those that are not registered with a political party. In Arizona specifically, there has been a rise in the number of independent voters in the last ten years. As of today, independent or nonpartisan voters make up one third of the electorate. Through a national lens, Arizona is known as a battleground state or swing state, largely because neither major political party can win an election without the help of independent voters. Regardless of the civic engagement or partisan preference of independent voters in Arizona, they are an unpredictable, powerful group of voters who are not always accurately depicted in polls or surveys.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.