Undecided?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Somewhere around 7 or 8 percent of the U.S. voting population have not made a decision on who they will vote for president.

Who are these people and what is their holdup?

Maybe if you have not had a chance to turn on the TV this election cycle, you might be confused by one candidate’s economic plan versus his opponent's. Maybe if you haven’t even walked past a news stand, you might not know one tax plan from the other. But seriously, do these undecided voters have absolutely no opinion on the major issues that differentiate the candidates?

In case one of ATK’s 1.9 million readers is still on the fence, below you will find the simpletons guide to five major differences that can be defined in pretty much black and white terms. Each candidate for sure has more nuanced positions on these issues, but since some people are still pretty confused, I think we need to make it simple.

McCain – supports current tax policies, with an additional across the board cut.
Obama – wants to return to Clinton style tax policies, with an additional “middle class” cut.

McCain – supported the invasion of Iraq, supports a measured withdrawal of troops
Obama – opposed the invasion of Iraq, supports a measured withdrawal of troops, possibly a bit quicker.

McCain – opposed to abortion rights
Obama – in favor of abortion rights

McCain – generally supports reduced government regulation of business
Obama – generally in favor of greater regulation of business

Just in case you need extreme labels to make up your mind:

McCain – Conservative, fascist pig
Obama – Liberal, commie-pinko

I close with a funny quote from David Sedaris, written in the New Yorker on October 27th.

In regards to undecided voters:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat.

“Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?

20 comments:

Smitty 8:45 AM  

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked

I read that quote the other day and laughed hysterically. The funny thing about that statement is regardless of your affiliation, it goes both ways (as to which candidate is the shit covered in broken glass).

I think that of the 7 or 8% that is undecided, 5 or 6 % is actually going to vote for McCain and just didn't want to tell a pollster.

Bob 8:56 AM  

I think that of the 7 or 8% that is undecided, 5 or 6 % is actually going to vote for McCain and just didn't want to tell a pollster.

So you mean 5 or 6% OF the undecideds, or 5 or 6% of the overall voters? If its the voters, then you have to predict a big upset on Tuesday.

Rickey Henderson 9:17 AM  

The undecideds continue to amaze Rickey. How do these people manage dress themselves in the morning?

Smitty 9:43 AM  

Bob:

There are, let's say, 8% undecided. I'm saying that it's not 8% "undecided." I'm saying it's 6% "McCain but don't want to say it out loud."

Smitty 9:45 AM  

So your statement: Somewhere around 7 or 8 percent of the U.S. voting population have not made a decision on who they will vote for president.

would, under my sentiment, now read: Somewhere around 5 or 6 percent of the U.S. voting population actually plans to vote for McCain, even though they say to pollsters that they have not made a decision on who they will vote for president

B Mac 9:57 AM  

Smitty, methinks you speak of the Bradley effect.

I refer you to THIS recent posting on FiveThirtyEight regarding undecided voters.

There's a good chance that they "break" for McCain... but not by nearly enough to make a difference.

Besides, when one candidate is over 50% in enough states to win, does it matter which way the undecideds go?

steves 10:09 AM  

“Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To many of the people that I know that are undecided, the question was, "do you want the platter of shit or the platter of vomit?" or "The chicken is canned chicken that may be expired."

I will say that I remain undecided longer in this election than I ever have before. Yes, I do know how to get dressed, though my wife still asks me on occasion, "why are you wearing that?" I suppose kool-aid drinkers on either side that vote party affiliation have an easy time making their choices. Those of us that have issues with both parties and political philosophies have a harder time.

I am sure there are stupid people out there that truly don't know the issues or that are voting based on "change" or "country first" or some other slogan, but just because you have a boner for one of the candidates doesn't mean that the rest of us do.

Smitty 12:26 PM  

steves:

I just think that with the galringly obvious implosion of the Republican party, a proven-dangerous Veep candidate in Sarah Palin, and other glaring issues from the Right, that despite having some philosophical differences with Obama that you or someone like you would be driven to vote for him simply because competence and accessibility goes a longer way towards better policy (to the extent the Executive does stuff, which is a lot) than idealogues on the Right. Who clearly want to initiate the "end times," which probably aren't real**.

Bob 2:12 PM  

Upon reflection, I guess I could see a voter being conflicted if they usually vote on cultural issues yet are conflicted because pocket book issues are troubling them, or some other conflict exists between multiple issues.

For example, if a voter usually votes for pro-life candidates, but is really troubled by McCain's economic track record, they could really be having a hard time with their decision.

That said, I think the point of the post is that there is plenty of information out there on the candidates, so if a person is undecided it cannot be for a lack of information or lack of differences between the candidates.

Smitty 2:25 PM  

so if a person is undecided it cannot be for a lack of information or lack of differences between the candidates

A perfect example is something I heard on NPR yesterday. A guy who said he is NOT voting for Obama said that "we just don't know enough about him."

I don't know what fucking planet that guy is on, because on this planet, we pretty much know every single true detail about his life, and even some of the fake ones.

That's just laziness. He never intended to vote for Obama, and regurgitated an absolutely, patently false accusation from McCain that we don't know enough about Obama.

B Mac 5:31 PM  

I will say that I remain undecided longer in this election than I ever have before.

If you're still undecided, let me give you the 30-second Obama pitch.

Obama is the smartest guy in the room. Any room. Sure, experience matters, and all things being equal, I'd like a guy who's been there. But I don't think these two are equal. One of them is even-tempered, thoughtful, and once-in-a-generation intelligent. The other one isn't. And if the last 8 years taught us anything, its that while intelligence and temperment may not be sufficent conditions for the making of a good president, they're certainly a necessary ones.

B Mac 5:41 PM  

As for why people are undecided, I think Bob/Smitty's point is that this election has been going on for something like 78 months. Every nuance has been explored ad nauseam.

Some people are struggling with the vote because of conflicting values. For example, their ideal candidate is a perfect libertarian, so both candidates have serious positives and serious negatives.

There is another type, however, which drives dedicated (read: nerd-like) politicos NUTS. They're the type that are swayed by the last-minute attack ads (Well, I was gonna vote for Obama, but I just got an e-mail suggesting he may be a secret Muslim). The ones who have no rational basis for their candidate choice other than gut instinct.

Basically, they're the woman in your NCAA Tournament office bracket pool who picks the teams based on which team has the prettier colors. And because she happens to like Tarheel Blue and Florida Orange, she wins the whole damn thing.

(Note- I'm NOT talking about Mrs. Smitty. She fills out a bracket with the best of 'em)

Bob 9:29 PM  

If you're still undecided, let me give you the 30-second Obama pitch.

Too late. He already voted AV:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=14594994&postID=5386253322525803666

steves 9:56 PM  

If you're still undecided, let me give you the 30-second Obama pitch.

Already voted, but thanks. FWIW, I value the opinions of the ATK'ers a great deal.

Some people are struggling with the vote because of conflicting values. For example, their ideal candidate is a perfect libertarian, so both candidates have serious positives and serious negatives.

This was my problem, though I wasn't necessarily looking for a libertarian, but something like that.

Mike 6:26 AM  

I want a libertarian candidate (I like Ron Paul better than either of these two clowns), but the idea that Obama and McCain are equally offensive is laughable.

Obama is a standard-issue, mainstream Dem. His economic policies are questionable, and I fear his commitment to curbing executive branch overreach will be non-existent.

That said, he's on the fucking grid at least.

But McCain, with Sarah "Vlad is my neighbor" Putin one 71-year old heartbeat away? Dude is off-the-charts unacceptable. He's done nothing in 25 years to show me that he'll curb executive abuses, he'll keep the war (with it's $10 billion dollar, 100 lives a month price tag) going into the unforeseeable future, he's anti-abortion, he'll keep throwing conservative judges to the bench . . . and, if it wasn't enough, his economic policies are questionable too!

Then throw in the X factor of war, war, war with whichever country gets in his way, and this bitch is a no-brainer.

Undecided? That's code word for "I'm gonna vote GOP, I'm in the hard-core that can't be swayed by 8 years of madness," but unwilling to admit it publicly or to oneself.

I'm pulling the lever for a Dem for the first time in 16 years (or for any of the two parties for that matter) on Tuesday, and I admit it. I'm not happy about it, and I hope in 2012 I can go back to my Libertarian/Green-voting ways, but this year, even in NY where Obama is gonna win and doesn't need my vote, I'm voting against McCain and the GOP.

Mike 6:27 AM  

Sarah "Vlad is my neighbor" Putin

Oops. Palin, not Putin.

Obama is the commie, not Palin.

Pete 8:31 AM  

IMHO even if you're "undecided" still (frankly I think that's a copout at this point), and have issues with both parties, all you have is the classic "lesser of two evils" case that you always have. Weigh the issues that matter to you and go that way. Or go with a 3rd party that more closely follows your beliefs. But claiming you still don't know how you feel between the two major candidates less than two weeks before the election seems lazy and irresponsible to me.

I loved the Daily Show bit on undecided voters, by the way....

Bob 9:52 AM  

I loved the Daily Show bit on undecided voters, by the way....


Which can be seen here:
http://www.politicstv.com/blog/?p=4528

steves 5:54 PM  

Undecided? That's code word for "I'm gonna vote GOP, I'm in the hard-core that can't be swayed by 8 years of madness," but unwilling to admit it publicly or to oneself.

Well, I am sure this is it, since I doubt there are many with your level of insight and knowledge. I am sure this may come as a shock, but not everyone thinks the way you do, nor prioritizes the way you do.

Mike 6:34 PM  

Then why are you "undecided"? What is it, exactly, that leaves you unable to decide after six months . . . that you hope to clarify in the next 48 hours???

Are you waiting for Obama to rip off his mask and reveal that he is, indeed, Jimmy Carter's 85 year-old twin brother? That McCain, and McCain alone, really does know how to catch Osama?

C'mon man. No one has to blog, but you choose to. So let us in the machinations of your mind.

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