Using primarily the 2004 American National Election Study data, this article clarifies how independent leaners differ from pure independents and weak partisans. In turnout and presidential election choice, leaners differ greatly from pure independents but approximate weak partisans. Pure independents are more likely than leaners to be Catholic. Effects of other social backgrounds are not symmetrical around pure independents. In regard to political attitudes, affective attachments to political parties exerted the most consistent effect on partisanship and independence. Leaners are more affectively attached than pure independents to their favored parties, and pure independents are more likely than leaners to have equally negative feelings toward the two parties. Weak partisans are more affectively attached than leaners to their favored parties. Other political attitudes have asymmetrical effects.
The rise of nonpartisan voters in the past decades are reported in the various studies on voting behavior in the developed democratic countries such as the US and Japan. Against this backdrop, it is the prime concern of this paper to make inquiries that whether or not the parallel partisans/nonpartisans, particularly the rise of nonpartisans, is discernable in the recently democratized (or democracy restored) Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. If it appears so, how it is explained and what the voting determinants are. Prior to proceeding to voting behaviors, the paper takes up the issues of democratic transition, the broader inclusive concept of the nonpartisans, the political and electoral institutional reforms, the behavior of political parties and party systems conducted in the three respective countries. The problems encountered are that, first, whether or not the concept of partisans vs. nonpartisan derived from the experiences in the developed countries can be adequately applied to the electorates whose political regime environment, the behaviors of political party and candidates, and electoral governance are different. and those who are basically identified with candidates or party leaders in the fluid multiparty system. Secondly the lack of solid and clear-cut evidence obtained from the outcome of surveys asking the electorates of the specific party identification or non-identification compelled to rely on the various different literatures and the election outcome. The conclusion remains to be the preliminary stage and it is desired that the studies on the candidate and party behavior along with the voting behavior in the post-democratized countries are extensively conducted.