We’ve been hearing so much about the “undecided voter” recently — with manic claims from pundits and reporters that this magical group is in possession of the “one ring to rule them all”. Indeed, they may be the king-makers on November 6th.
Are they really that important? And who the hell are these people? Do they possess TVs, computers, eyes, ears, brains?
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll pegs the number of “undecided” at about 9% of likely voters. That’s plenty enough for both campaigns to sit-up and take notice.
It’s probably safe to assume that a good number of them are insincere about their assertion of political indecision. They may be afflicted with an electoral form of Munchausen Syndrome — they simply love the attention their feigned mental fog brings them — leaving the American public to suffer the fools. They want to be wooed by the candidates, even though their actual interest in public policy may be minimal at best.
And then there’s the rest of them — likely voters that share the above group’s low interest in public policy to the point of avoiding exposing themselves to the basics of key issues. It’s hard to believe, but they do exist — they are not mythical creatures.
- They’re more likely to be women.
- They’re younger.
- They are least likely to be black.
- They have less formal education.
- They earn less.
- They save less for retirement.
- They’re more likely to be young parents.
- They’re less likely to be married.
- They’re more likely to be unemployed.
- They have a lower home ownership rate.
- They’re not gun owners.
- They don’t donate to campaigns.
- They don’t read political websites/blogs. (guess they’re not among my fans)
- They don’t watch much news or sports.
- They don’t travel much.
- They’re not big on technology, mostly for financial reasons.
- They like to sleep-in.
- They’re not big readers, especially of non-fiction.
- They avoid political polls.
- They like to clean their houses.
- They like cornball movies: 3-D, horror, slap-stick.
- They like to pay with cash.
- They prefer (but can’t always afford) expensive off-the-rack brand name fashions.
- They love non-luxury cars, but aren’t very enthused about Subarus.
- They, counter-intuitively, like to shop high-end food and groceries.
- They pack their lunches.
- They prefer Pepsi over Coke.
Does any of this information tell us a single useful thing about this key voting block? Sure, it demonstrates that all those supposed “undecideds” that stood up and asked ernest questions at the recent townhall debate are not representative of their demographic, and may fall into a special category of media opportunists more than being actual motivated voters bent on genuine inquiry.
Just this morning I turned on the TV to see one of those “confused” voters whining that neither candidate adequately answered her question about equal pay, and she just wasn’t sure who she would vote for — really? Give it a rest!
I guess we’re stuck with them…..Give us your tired, your poor, your undecided masses…
Amy Kerr Hardin