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Fla. Political Experts To GOP, Dems: Don’t Underestimate NPAs In 2014 Race

Don’t underestimate the state’s Independent voters. That’s the advice some Florida political experts have for the two main political parties ahead of the 2014 gubernatorial election.

University of South Florida Political Scientist Susan MacManus says Florida’s Republican and Democratic parties need to watch out for what she calls the state’s most volatile electorate: independent voters. She says the number of people who register with the state claiming “No Party Affiliation” is on an upswing.

“And, a lot of it stems from the simple fact that younger people are very alienated by both of the political parties, and when you think about it, after all, they’ve only seen negatives about the parties by the time they become political aware, which is age 10 and forward,” said MacManus.

Trends show Florida independent voters are usually a close split. But, on a recent conference call hosted by the League of Women Voters, MacManus says when these No Party Affiliation voters—the NPAs, as she calls them—tilt toward a certain party come election time, that party tends to be on the winning side.

“In the 2008 presidential race, Obama received 52 percent of the independent vote, McCain 45-percent. Then we switch to the 2010 Governor’s race: Alex Sink got 44 percent of the NPAs and Rick Scott got 52. Then we go back to a presidential year this last year: Obama, 50 percent and Romney, 47,” MacManus added.

Meanwhile, both parties are already waging an internet war for the state’s undecided voters in next year’s gubernatorial race.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.