Is it possible to win a presidential election while losing the independent vote? Sure. The independents basically split down the middle in 2000 and 2004, which left the outcome up to the relative strengths of the two party bases. But that is not what I see right now. Instead, I see a Romney margin among independents that ranges between 5 and 10 points. Prior to the 1980s, I could see the Democrats overcoming that, but not in 2012.Plenty on the other side think 2008 is the exception to this trend, a sign of the emerging liberal majority, which the left has been waiting for ever since Adlai Stevenson's candidacy in 1952. But they misinterpret 2008: the Democratic share of the vote that year was right within its historical track of the high-30s. What differed was a drop in Republican identification from the mid-30s to the low-30s.Does anybody really expect that to persist this year? Of course not.This means we will probably be back to a slender divide between the two parties, narrowed even more by greater Republican loyalty. In all likelihood, white Democrats from the Ohio River Valley to the Gulf of Mexico will defect from their own party’s ticket in droves. These children and grand children of FDR’s core backers will support Mitt Romney overwhelmingly, so a nominal 3 to 4 point Democratic identification edge over the GOP will shrink to 1 or 2 points, meaning that independents will determine the outcome, just as they have basically for the last 32 years.