1 in 7 Voters Persuadable
A new poll claims that a whopping 14 percent of likely voters think they may still change their minds in the five days remaining before the election.
One in seven, or 14 percent, can’t decide or back a candidate but might switch, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll of likely voters released Friday.
Who are they? They look a lot like the voters who’ve already locked onto a candidate, though they’re more likely to be white and less likely to be liberal. And they disproportionately backed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failed run for the Democratic nomination.
For now, their indecision remains intact despite the fortunes that have been spent to tug people toward either McCain, the Republican, or the Democrat Obama. Fueling their uncertainty is a combination of disliking something about both candidates and frustration with this campaign and politics in general.
Ordinarily, I use the term “undecided voter” interchangably with “idiots” and “non-voters.” In most races, even when there’s not a candidate I’m excited about, it’s simply astounding to me that someone couldn’t decide given the stark differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates.
Not so much this year. Even our own Dave Schuler was still, as of Wednesday evening’s edition of OTB Radio, not firmly decided (although he’s leaning ever-so-slightly towards Obama). Many people who normally vote Democrat are truly worried about Obama’s seasoning. Many people who normally vote Republican are concerned about McCain’s temperament and the risk of Sarah Palin ascending to the presidency.
Moderates seem to prefer McCain on foreign policy but would rather have Obama calling the shots on the economy and health care. Obama has to deal with the Clinton dead-enders (the so-called PUMAs) and McCain has to fire up conservatives who don’t trust him.
That said, I simply don’t believe the numbers here. My strong hunch is that the overwhelming preponderance of self-identified “persuadables” are either trying to appear open-minded or are simply reluctant partisans. The real number is likely somewhere around the 6.5 percent currently unaccounted for in the RealClearPolitics average.
These people will, I believe, break disproportionately — perhaps 2-to-1 or even 3-to-1 — for John McCain. After all, they’re overwhelmingly people who voted for George W. Bush the last two cycles and who haven’t yet jumped on the Obama bandwagon. Given that Obama’s within a rounding error of 50 percent both nationally and in enough of the states Bush won in 2000 and 2004 to win in the Electoral College, however, I don’t think it’ll be enough.