Independents, dissatisfied with President Obama's policies and performance, have drifted toward the Republican party, poll results released Sunday indicated.
In Politico's final pre-election Battleground Poll, Republicans have a 14-percentage-point edge among independents, leading the generic ballot overall, 47 percent to 42 percent.
The swing among independents runs parallel to the emergence of the Tea Party movement as one of the key changes in U.S. politics in the past 20 months, Politico pollsters said, noting that other polls also detected this trend.
The flight of independents presents the biggest challenge for Democrats because independents helped congressional Democrats ascend to power in 2006 and pushed Obama into office in 2008.
Republicans, Politico said, shouldn't read too much into their inroads among independents. Many independents who turned their backs on Obama aren't necessarily wholly enthusiastic about Republicans either, results indicated. Thirty percent of independents said they thought Republicans have offered more specific solutions than Democrats this year.
The president's approval rating is 38 percent among independents, Politico reported.
Results are based on a survey of 1,000 adults Oct. 17-20. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.