When I listen to commentators and pundits make quantitative claims, I'm occasionally able to flatter myself by shooting them down. Given the amount of time I spend thinking about politics, I was embarrassed to realize, however, that the question at hand was not something I've ever looked at empirically.
Fortunately, the GSS provides an answer, and a mundane one at that. Turns out those without a party affiliation tend to self-describe as political moderates, forming something close to a normal distribution tailing off to the left and right, as the following table shows. To ensure contemporary relevance, only responses from 2004-2008 are considered (N = 1390):
|Distribution of independents|
Savage's low-end estimate of 30% is too high. Given the lowbrow nature of talk radio, hyperbole is stock-in-trade in the broadcasting business.
GSS variables used: YEAR(2004-2008), POLVIEWS, PARTYID(3)