Here are a couple graphs for the next time you hear that the “independents are the largest group of American voters” and some species of “to appeal to this vast number of independents you have to take moderate positions.” Graphs are courtesy of the new Pew Center report (p.28 and 98 of the pdf):
First, most independents lean toward a party:
You can see that only 12% of respondents did not identify with or lean toward a party in the most recent survey.
Second, independents who lean toward a party have not differed much from partisans on key political values:
[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]