A lot of people have a vested interest in it. There are these bi-partisan deficit-reduction groups that think because Democrats are reluctant to do Medicare cuts and the Republicans are reluctant to raise taxes, the independent voter must therefore be willing to compromise on both. There’s no evidence that that’s true. We know from the way Obama carried independent voters in 2008 and the way Republicans carried them in 2010 that sometimes very strong positions taken by one of the parties sweep across the independents. Finding the position halfway is not necessarily the way to appeal to them. Clinton used to talk about “moving to the center,” and it would drive me crazy! There were swing voters and issues that were critical to them, like middle-class tax cuts and welfare reform, but they didn’t coincide with the center on the ideological spectrum.
The descriptor non-affiliated is far more accurate.