There's no doubt about the number of independents growing, from 30% in 2006 up to 41% today. The question I have about the rise, have those who left both major parties changed their voting habits or have they kept them only under a new name?
We've had some wild swings in how independents vote in the past, 2006 they went Democratic by 18 points only to go Republican by 19 points in 2010. That's a swing of 37 points in 4 years. Now with independents grown the swing was Trump by 4 in 2016, Biden by 13 in 2020, a swing of 17 points in 4 years.
Too small a sample to say anything for sure. It's very possible that those who left the GOP still are voting for Republicans as are those who left the Democratic Party still voting Democratic. Only now they call themselves independents. History doesn't help me on this.
For the time being, I'm going to assume for the time being that those who left both major parties are continuing to vote for the party they left candidates. Voting habits. But you know what they say about assuming and what that can make you.