Undecided Voters in 2012
September 26, 2012
We are less than two months from Election Day but there are still many undecided voters.
After a year of political campaigning, brutal advertisements, massive primary and caucus debates how can that be?
This year the undecided voters are largely unhappy with BOTH Obama and Romney.
Undecided voters are also people who CLAIM that they will vote in November but experts agree that many of them, for a variety of reasons, actually will not vote at all.
Undecided voters are also for the most part “leaners’ who are not so much undecided as Democratic and Republican voters who are not committed and enthusiastic but in fact lean one way or another.
Undecided voters may also be THE crucial group in the electorate since the polls show a tight race (if you average all the polls) somewhere within 3.2%, which is the margin of error. Whichever campaign can jog loose more undecided for their candidate may just get that tiny margin necessary for victory in the key, battleground states.
Romney is leading among Independents” in almost every poll and every state. However, Independents are less likely to vote than declared Democrats or Republicans. Independents are more like undecided; they are not really independent because there is no “Independent” or third party candidate to whom they can turn.
The Hill reports that “negative campaigning stirs a party’s base to vote, but depresses those without political affiliation.”
Mitt Romney said in his secretly filmed talk to $50K donors in Florida,“What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independent, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending on in some cases emotion—whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like.”
BUT as Michelle Cottle wrote in the Daily Beast, “Romney touched upon a grim electoral truth: at this stage of the race, the vast majority of people still waffling aren’t so much “independent” or “thoughtful” or centrist so much as they are utterly clueless. Ask the political scientists, pollsters, and other professional analyzers of the electorate who parse these sorts of things. They will tell you—as they have told me repeatedly over the years—that undecideds or swing voters or whatever you want to call them tend to be low-information folks who cast their ballots based on whichever candidate gives them the last-minute warm-and-fuzzies.”
I had an interesting conversation with one of my students who is undecided. She wanted to know where she could go to study the specific position of Romney and Obama on a variety of issues. I directed her to several sites that are particularly useful. I sensed that if she does spend a long time studying these position papers she will not find the answers to her concerns. She seems uncertain. She does not have a political “instinct” which I believe is much more important than and “study” of the issues.
If YOU are an undecided voter let me give you some advice.
The gut is a much better guide than the brain. Go with your instinct.
Put another way, “When it comes to politics, undecided voters don’t know anything,” political scientist Michael Haselswerdt once said. “And they’re not going to pay attention long enough to learn anything.”
Tags: independent voters, undecided voters, undecided voters 2012