Who Are Those Undecided Voters Anyway?

Saturday Night Live took a look at them last Saturday:

Sadly, this isn’t far off.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Humor, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. It was a fun piece, but in fact no, that’s not the way undecideds work.

    Polling shows (I dropped a link here somewhere) that people at the margins move from Romney to undecided, from Obama to undecided, or vis-versa.

    It is constant flux, floating around some percent undecided at any point in time.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Ride a city bus, train or subway in any major metropolis. Dig the people with confused expressions on their faces, who tend often to mutter to themselves, and who realize four stops too late that they missed their stops. Those are your “undecided voters.”

    The white trash laborers in their wife beater T-shirts who curse at the world in between swigs of Wild Irish Rose. Those are your “undecided voters.”

    The alimony hogs who spend most of their days in tanning salons and most of their nights servicing strangers after picking them up in cheap bars. Those are your “undecided voters.”

    The dolts who don’t know the names of their own governors nor their own U.S. Senators. The people who could not identify a single Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Those who don’t know the current vice president, much less the current leaders of the House and Senate. Yep, those are your “undecided voters.”

    So on, so forth.

    Bad education systems + a loopy, partisan media = a dumbed down society.

    All part and parcel of the big slide.

  3. @Tsar Nicholas:

    No, I think these days those are the guys who “always vote Republican.”

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    I heard a pollster from Florida say that most of the “undecideds” are actually “don’t cares” who won’t be voting.

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Political scientists refer to those people as “low information voters”. And yes, that is the typical undecided.

  6. george says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Most people are pretty low information about most things which effect them. How many people know anything about how agriculture works today, or about their computer’s internals, or even about the science behind most technology.

    I know a number of professors who are very intelligent, well read (literature to history), very capable in their fields (everything from engineering to physics to English lit) who are definite undecided. Their argument is much along the lines that in the end, all you change is the rhetoric. They’ll take a few days to read up on things a few days before working, but see no reason to think about it before hand.

    All in all, I”m not sure that’s not the better way to do it. Being undecided at this point is probably the wisest approach – wait until as much information is in as you’re going to get (ie just before the election) before deciding.

  7. bill says: