90M Won't Vote— and They Back Obama 2 to 1

They're disenchanted—or simply too busy to hit polls

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 15, 2012 3:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama could get a big leg up in a close election, without having to win people over—if only he could get them to the polls. Some 80 million eligible voters didn't vote in 2008, and this year, the number is poised to reach 90 million, USA Today reports. And it's in Mitt Romney's interest to keep them at home: Those who are unlikely to vote—saying there's at most a 50% chance they'll do so—support President Obama by a 2-to-1 margin, a poll finds.

Two-thirds of these "nonvoters" are even registered, and 80% agree that government has a significant effect on their lives. But many say that they're simply too busy to vote, or that their vote doesn't matter much. Six in 10 say "nothing ever gets done" in politics. Still, they see a difference between the parties, and 43% back Obama, compared to 18% for Romney. "You've got this overriding sense of bitterness and people who have been beaten down by the economy and the negativity and the lack of trust, and that's the key that Obama can't find. And he's running out of time," says a pollster.

President Obama speaks during campaign event at Waterloo Center for the Arts, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa, during a bus tour through Iowa.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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All (Obama) needs to do is find them and identify them and get them to the polls. It's like a treasure chest. But the bad news is that the treasure chest is locked. - Pollster David Paleologos

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