Swing Voters Not Worth the Effort

Swing voters don't matter, but campaigns still chase them
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 12, 2008 5:56 PM CDT
Poll worker Tony Dedeschi helps voter Richard Adams with his absentee ballot at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial polling place in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/David Smith)
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(Newser) – Swinging both ways may be a thrill, but presidential candidates should still ignore it, Ezra Klein writes in the Los Angeles Times. Not only are swing voters "contemptible" for their prolonged ambivalence, they cost candidates millions of dollars in the election's waning weeks. And these typically rural and uneducated voters may not even effect the outcome, studies show.

One paper—"Swing Voters? Hah!"—concluded that undecideds in the 2004 election had secretly made up their minds by early October. What's more, most elections are decided ahead of time by deeper issues, like the incumbent's popularity, two studies say. But hey, writes Klein, the campaigns are weighed down by unspent millions: "And why begrudge them their efforts? The campaign is long, and people need to keep busy."