INDEPENDENT’S DAY… Over at Showdown ’06, our election blog, we’ve recruited ace polling analyst Ruy Teixiera to be our in-house Charlie Cook, the guy who can give us an overall sense of where the midterms are headed. Ruy’s first post came in over the weekend, and if you haven’t read it, you should. Among other interesting nuggets, he reports that Democrats are now garnering an historically unprecedented 14 to 15 point lead among independents:

As far back as I can get data (1982), the Democrats have never had a lead among independents larger than 4 points in an actual election, a level they managed to achieve in both 1986 and 1990. Indeed, since 1990, they?ve lost independents in every congressional election: by 14 points in 1994; by 4 points in 1998; and by 2 points in 2002. So, even leaving questions of relative partisan turnout aside (and I suspect the Democrats will do better, not worse, in this respect in 2006), the implications of a strong Democratic lead among independents in this year?s election, if it holds, are huge.

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Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he is writing a book on America’s involvement in the Greek War of Independence.