Undecided Voters Will Swing Election? Not So Much

Ezra Klein explains why this idea is a myth
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2012 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – You hear a lot about undecided voters and the supposedly decisive impact they will have on the election—and both candidates are certainly doing what they can to win over that group in the final weeks of the campaign—but at Bloomberg, Ezra Klein explains why that whole idea is a myth. A more correct way of describing the undecided voter is "uninterested and, frankly, uninformed," Klein writes. That doesn't mean they're dumb, it just means they don't care. One study found most of them can't identify John Boehner as a congressman, and just 69% knew Joe Biden was the vice president.

That's because they're just not paying much attention to politics—which means they're not hearing about the gaffes or the triumphs of either candidate. And they probably won't watch the debates. "To people personally invested in politics, the homestretch of the campaign appears loaded with the kind of political information that could change voter opinions," Klein writes. But the truth is, when such information is revealed, undecided voters aren't even likely to hear about it. When push comes to shove, the undecided voters will probably break evenly. So "if Obama is going to turn this into a rout, or if Romney is to salvage a win, it will probably require changing minds that are already made up, or increasing (or suppressing) turnout among base voters." Click for Klein's full column.

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