How important are independent voters to the 2018 midterms? If previous elections are a guide, the party that wins independents will likely win the House majority. Capturing these non-affiliated voters is often essential to winning a swing district -- one that doesn’t have a strong Democratic or Republican majority.  Most of the House races on RealClearPolitics’s toss-up list are in swing districts where independent voters can make all the difference between winning and losing.

Over the last 25 years, control of the House has flipped three times, and the party that won independents was the party that captured the majority. In 1994, Republicans wrested control by achieving a 14-percentage-point advantage among these voters. In 2006, Democrats won independents by 18 points and took over the House. The tables turned again in 2010 when Republicans won independent voters by 19 points, according to research by Dave Winston, a Republican strategist.  "The difference between a GOP victory and a GOP loss wasn’t base turnout,” he said. “It was Republicans’ ability or inability to win independents.” 

In 2016, independents were one of the decisive factors that swung the presidential election to Donald Trump.  While under-reported, Trump carried these voters over Hillary Clinton, 46 percent to 42 percent. In many battleground states, Trump handily won independents by double digits, including Michigan (+16), Wisconsin (+10) and North Carolina (+16).

Please select this link to read the complete article from RealClearPolitics.