Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Undecided Voters Who Decide Everything


Previous Post:
Bill Maher's Snarky Rant about Undecided Voters

Undecideds have come in for a lot of guff in recent weeks, and perhaps understandably: this year’s presidential election might ultimately come down to the mercurial whims of a few thousand people who don’t really pay attention to or care all that much about this stuff.
~ G.D. on Postbourgie

. . . there are few undecided voters this year. On average among national polls, about 7 percent of voters either say they are undecided, or that they will vote for a third-party candidate — the same percentage as in 2004, when voters committed early to Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry. The figures are slightly lower than at a comparable point in 2008, and considerably lower than in 2000.
. . . Some voters who are not thrilled with the major-party choices may name a third-party candidate when a pollster gives them the option, but then grudgingly vote Democrat or Republican for fear of wasting their votes otherwise. For this reason, polls generally overstate the standing of third-party candidates, and for forecasting purposes it may be proper to treat ostensible third-party voters as de facto undecideds.
~ Nate Silver on 538 Blog via New York Times

Behold the Snookization of American politics.
The Middle East is in turmoil. The economy is struggling. Mitt Romney is on “Live! with Kelly and Michael,” talking Snooki and his bedtime wear (“as little as possible”).
The number of undecided voters is vanishingly small. The remaining ones tend to be the lowest of low-information voters, only intermittently tuned in to politics, if at all. These folks are not watching “Meet the Press” or calibrating candidates’ positions on optimal tax rates. They are, predominantly, women.
So both presidential campaigns find themselves trolling in unlikely and, to be blunt, demeaning places, answering demeaning questions.
~ Ruth Marcus on The Northwestern

From Saturday Night Live:
Undecided Voters Have Some Questions

This election will determine the future of our country. And this election will be determined by the Undecided Voter.

It seems that more than 96% of voters have all ready made up their minds about this election. Well, I guess some of us are just a little harder to please. We're not impressed by political spin or thirty-second sound bytes.

Before you get our vote, you're gonna have to answer some questions. Questions like:

When is the Election? How soon do you have to decide?

What are the names of the two people running? And be specific...

Who is the president right now? Is he or she running? Because if so, experience may be something we should consider.


How long is a president's term of office? One year? Two years? Three years? Or life?
If it's for life, frankly, we're not comfortable with that. We don't need to be electing a dictator.

What happens if the president dies? Has anyone thought about who would replace him? What's your plan, gentlemen?

Can women vote? Because if not, as a woman, I've got a big problem with that. And by the way, if men can't vote, in my opinion, that's just as wrong.

We hear a lot about our dependence on foreign oil but just what is oil? What is it used for?

Can a woman have a baby just from French kissing?

If you burp, fart, and sneeze at the same time, will you die?

Where's my power cord?

We are America's Undecided Voters. There's still a lot we don't know. And . . . (in unison) We Want Answers.

Low information Voters of America is responsible for the content of this advertising.

They are negative on both candidates to an unusual degree. I mean, you go back to '04, people are undecided if the fall express positive favorable views of both John Kerry and George W. Bush, this year - excuse me -- it's the opposite. Obama's approval rating is miserable, Romney's favorable/unfavorable is miserable among these undecided voters.
So I mean, it is possible that a lot of these people we are calling undecided today we'll look at both of these and not vote.
~ Ron Brownstein, CNN Political Director on State of the Union

Probably half of the undecideds are not voters. We know that people say they're going to vote, and they aren't actually voters, and so some of them just truly -- they really are the most disengaged. So really maybe -- it may be two or three percentage really. So, it's that small.
You know, it's actually - while it seems hard for us to imagine not paying hard to the election. It's actually not all that hard. Media are diffuse. A lot of people are watching a lot of different things. They're taking care of their kids, their working. And so it really is for a lot of people just starting, and I think the conventions and the debates starts focusing the choice for some people.
~ Anna Greenberg, Democratic Pollster on CNN's State of the Union

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