Previously on This Just In…I wrote the following prior to the November election of 2008:
Voters in Wisconsin can begin making their choices official today via the absentee ballot. Wisconsin officials predict about 15% of all ballots this year will be cast as absentee votes. In Wisconsin, it’s no questions asked if you want to vote with an absentee ballot. Just ask for one, and you’ll get one. You can then vote in the privacy of your own home and take as much time as you’d like.
Nationwide, about a third of the electorate will vote early this year.
It shouldn’t be surprising that so many people are taking advantage of ever-increasing popular form of voting. Some states were already accepting votes two weeks ago, meaning that four to six weeks out, many Americans have made their decisions. No doubt, there minds were made up a long time ago.
So what’s with the 15-18% of Americans still coveted by news interviewers, pollsters and the candidates who remain undecided?
A few weeks ago while filling in for Mark Belling on Newstalk 1130 WISN, I addressed the topic of the “undecided” voter. Quite frankly, there’s no excuse for being bewitched, bothered and bewildered at this stage of the game.
The Presidential campaign has been going on for what seems like an eternity, but in reality, about two years. That’s an awfully long time.
You’d have to be a hermit locked up in some cave not to have been exposed to the barrage of political information, inescapable for even the most disinterested souls.
The public has been inundated with election news in newspapers and magazines, on talk radio, TV news coverage, on cable, on the Internet, on blogs, in campaign literature and in those incessant TV ads and dinnertime phone calls.
The candidates are light years apart on every single issue. There’s no middle ground, a stark contrast that should render decision-making ever so easy.
If the economy eclipsed the Iraq War as the top issue a long time ago, I submit the choice of who’s best qualified to get us back on track is not the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate that will tax and tax and tax and tax some more. Give me the candidate who will exercise restraint on spending. In the war against terrorism, I’ll take the war hero who’s been there and will take the tough stance rather than the guy who wants to sit down and have tea with our enemies. I certainly would feel safer if John McCain were in the White House.
As a Roman Catholic, I’m baffled that so many Catholics are confounded or leaning towards Obama, forgetting he’s an unborn child’s worst nightmare.
Why so many perplexed voters? As I stated on WISN, I submit they’re undecided for the following reasons:
1) They’re uninformed. Despite the avalanche of available information, they’re clueless on the candidates and the issues. 2) They don’t care. Not everyone is a political junkie. Not everyone is engaged. And many don’t give a damn.
3) They are, let’s face it, not that bright. That’s putting it as diplomatically as I can. How else do you explain that according to some reports, one out of five Americans is still firmly entrenched in the “I don’t know” camp?
Not all undecideds are dumb. But a whole bunch of them are. Take 31-year old Matt Powell of Widefield, Colorado, quoted by the Associated Press:
“Neither one has really come up with anything to make me say, ‘That one right there, I want that one.’ I don’t even know what I’m looking for. Just a little bit of hope.”
“I don’t even know what I am looking for.”
Matt, your answering service called. Your brain will be ready next week. Here’s another beauty. Karen Wamback, also 31 of Rutland, Massachusetts could open a waffle house.”John McCain has a lot of issues I have issues with but Barack Obama has a lot more.” Then, about 15 minutes later, after going through the pros and cons of each candidate, Wamback offered this gem:
“I guess I’m pretty much set with McCain because he’s the lesser of two evils. Then again, I might just vote in (Sesame Street’s) Elmo. At least he’s for the children.”
Yep, she’s a voter. Scary.
Here’s that entire AP article.
Undecided voters, if they truly are undecided, are unreliable.My advice to both camps would be to concentrate on your base. Focus on registering people whoa re apt to vote for you. Don’t waste time trying to coddle or psychoanalyze these softies who can’t make a choice between just two candidates.
Finally, as we get closer to Election Day, newspaper editorial writers will beg for a high turnout, clamoring that it’s a citizen’s right and duty to get out and vote. Ideally, I prefer a lower turnout of more educated voters that have actually given their choice some thought, have done some homework, have conducted the research. No, I’m not suggesting you must possess a PHD, but I’d rather you not going write in Big Bird.
I want those who can’t make up their minds to save their lives, those who will decide based on the last :30 ad they see on television before they walk out the door, to just stay home.
—October 6, 2008
The update, nearly 8 years later:
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