Every election, the talking heads intone about, and the Democratic and Republican campaigns focus on, the undecided voters. So, who ARE these people? What kind of people are they? What follows is not a scientific or objective analysis by any means, just my own observations of the people I have met and have heard about who seem to fit into this group of voters.
They do seem to have several traits in common. First, for whatever reason, they always vote, which makes them “likely voters” in polling parlance. Second, they only vote for candidates who they think have a chance of winning, so they never vote third party. Third, they talk a lot about how individual candidates make them “feel,” whether or not they personally like the candidate, and whether or not they find him or her trustworthy.
Finally, they seem to have very fragile egos, and will frequently actually vote for the candidate who is considered to be the favorite to win by the M$M, conventional wisdom, or the latest poll. That way, they can pat themselves on the back and say “I voted for the winner, while my inferior neighbor or in-law voted for the loser. See how much smarter I am?”
In short, they are shallow, self-centered, and unreliable people who I would never allow to become my friends. I’ll give one example from my own life.
I had a coworker in Colorado who watched all the talking head M$M shows and national news. She was registered as an independent, though she said she usually voted Democratic, which actually made a kind of sense at the time since she was a county government employee. But when it came down to whom she voted for, in one case she voted for Republican Bob Beauprez for Congress because she “just liked him” even though he ran on a platform of cutting funding for government jobs, and his Democratic opponent directly challenged him on that position. Then, after the election was over and Beauprez was in office actually voting to cut the program for which she worked, when I pointed that fact out she said, “Well, at least I voted for the winner. You lost.”
And that wasn’t the only time. She said she liked Reagan and voted for him even though she disagreed with most of his policies, and while she voted for Gore in 2000(that election was stolen, of course), she voted for Bush in 2004 because the Swift Boat ads worked on her(and probably because Bush was ahead in national polls by a smidgen at the end.) In 2008, she no doubt voted for Obama.
So, if my own admittedly subjective and anecdotal analysis of the targeted and coveted undecided voter has any merit whatsoever, which of the corporatist presidential candidates has the edge in 2012?
My first two criteria obviously apply to both Obama and Romney. The third, however, doesn’t. Who is more likable to these people? There’s no question about that. It’s Obama. Romney just comes across as too plastic and a little weird. I mean, he is Mormon. The trustworthiness factor also comes into play. The fact that Romney refuses to release his tax returns does not sit well with these people. They will wonder what he is hiding, which is why Harry Reid said what he did, and why the Obama campaign is pounding away at this issue.
It doesn’t matter whether or not Obama lied through his teeth in 2008 or how much his actions and inactions have done to hurt these folks’ own interests. They will just focus on the two men in the race(the others don’t count because they can’t win) and pick which one they like more. My hunch is that will be Obama, especially after the televised debates, which these undecided voters always watch. If Obama is up by just a couple of points in the polls, they’ll mostly pull the lever for him.
So, we’ll see whether or not I’m right in less than three months. As I see it, this presidential election is already over. Obama will win it.
As for me, I’m voting for Stewart Alexander. But remember, I’m not an undecided voter. I don’t even like them.