Registered Independents weren’t major factor in Democratic primary, analysis shows
By Silas Allen
After the Oklahoma Democratic Party announced last year that registered Independents would be allowed to vote in this year’s Democratic presidential primary, many observers wondered how big a role those voters would play in the outcome.
The answer? Not big enough to swing the race.
An analysis performed this week by Oklahoma City-based polling firm SoonerPoll shows 34,436 registered Independents voted in the Democratic primary — too few to make up the 34,716-vote margin between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The small Independent turnout also appears to indicate that Sanders’ victory was not fueled by a large groundswell of young and Independent voters as some had speculated, said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll.
In Oklahoma, Sanders’ victory appears instead to have been driven by older registered Democrats, according to the analysis. That the contest isn’t living up to preconceptions isn’t a surprise to Shapard, who authored the analysis.
“This was a crazy election,” Shapard said. “There’s just no doubt about it.”