Leaning voters is a term in politics and survey research methods that has several meanings. The nominative application refers to voters who are not strongly affiliated with any political party, nor are they hard-core independents. They lean toward being a partisan of one stripe or another.

Another definition refers to voters who do not indicate that they are solidly supporting one candidate or another—but they do lean toward supporting a candidate. Related to this, a third definition is a verb: Researchers lean voters when they allocate undecided voters to one candidate or another through use of various heuristic or empirical methods. The term derives from how the two concepts are traditionally measured.

Candidate Support Measures

When researchers measure candidate support in preelection polls, there usually are respondents ...

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