Yet to be heard from: Independents

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Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released the certified results of February's primary, and while they show that voter turnout overall was the highest in any primary since 1980 they also demonstrate that independent voters largely chose to stay out of the nominating process.

Overall turnout was 57.7 percent, smashing the record for the most total voters participating in a primary. The old record was 7.8 million, set in 2000. On this Feb. 5, about 9 million Californians voted.

Breaking the figures down by party, they show that Democrats were clearly motivated by the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama showdown. Nearly three-quarters of the state's registered Democrats cast ballots. Among Republicans, the turnout was 58.9 percent.

The big drop was among decline-to-state voters, who because of party rules were allowed to vote in the Democratic primary but not the Republican primary. Only 23.3 percent of such independent voters decided to cast ballots.

In Ventura County, the overall turnout was 62.1 percent -- a high number that was again an indicator of highly motived Democrats. More than 81 percent of the county's 148,441 Democrats voted. Among county Republicans, the turnout was 65.7 percent.

It's hard to say what any of this portends for November, but one thing is for certain: The great majority of independent voters has yet to weigh in on the 2008 presidential election.

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com
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