Politico takes a look at Obama's relationship with indepenedent voters. Indpendent voters support of Republicans was a major reason why they had such a huge victory in November and are often a larger voting bloc in parts of the country than those registered with a political party. Obviously, getting Obama's numbers up among indpendents is going to be crucial for 2012:

That unpredictable, cranky group of voters who helped carry the president into office two years ago before turning against him in dramatic fashion, may be turning back in Obama’s direction even more quickly.A series of national polls released over the last week shows Obama’s approval rating on the upswing among voters who don’t affiliate with either political party.In two polls, Obama’s standing with independents jumped by double digits. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed him clocking 46 percent approval among independents - an 11-point increase since December.A CNN/Opinion Research survey was even more sanguine, showing a 15-point leap for Obama, to 56 percent approval.

That's an interesting development, but it remains to be seen whether independent voters are really giving Obama a second look, or whether some of this is just natural retrenchment now that there's a balance of power in Washington and the President is forced to tack to the center. Once the campaign rhetoric heats up, we'll see how convincingly Obama the Centrist is playing among independents.