With only seven weeks to go before the general election, national polls report close to 10% of Americans still haven't decided who they will vote for in November. After over a year of campaigning, hundreds of policy statements and strikingly different proposals about how each party/candidate will run the country (not to mention party platforms decades in the making), how can anyone be an "undecided" voter at this point?
Those of us who have already made educated choices are continually subjected to the media's fascination and candidate's focus on this small group -- just because "undecideds" are supposedly going to decide the election... again. But every voter helps determine the election outcome (putting aside for the moment any issues of Supreme Court interference, Electoral College unfairness or vote counting interference) and there is always the inevitable post-election realization that "undecided" voters actually didn't determine anything. So, please don't subject us to anymore comments and airhead opinions from the revered "undecided" voter!
We don't care what this small, irresponsible sliver of the electorate thinks about the issues. If they cared about the issues (healthcare, wealth distribution, gun control, abortion, environment, Iraq, education, etc.), their choice would already be clear. We are tired of hearing the excuse, "neither candidate excites me." Well, even if you have to choose based on who you dislike the least, you still need to choose -- sometimes you aren't going to get everything you want. While facing one of the most critical election choices of our lifetime, I've heard quite a few "undecided" voters say they'll make their decision based on "how they feel" once they get in the voting booth... give us a break!
And, just to be clear, an "undecided" voter is not the same as an "independent" voter. Independents might take a bit more time than party loyalists in choosing their candidate, but unlike those "undecided" so close to this election, most independent voters have already thrown their support behind a candidate. So, the time to win over a significant amount of independents has ended. Yet, both campaigns continue to focus an inordinate amount of time, money and energy trying to woo the flaky "undecided" voter.
A recent study on the psychology of the "undecided" voter, reveals that "... people who think they are undecided about an issue often have made up their mind at an unconscious level." Why would someone say they are "undecided" even though they have already made up their mind - even at an "unconscious level"? Do they simply enjoy the attention they get when friends, family and co-workers try to woo them over to their side? Do they hope to participate in a media focus group? Are they withholding their vote as some type of political ransom? Or, are they simply not paying attention to what's going on?
Whatever the reason, it's time to ignore these passive-aggressive voters (since almost everyone has made up their minds at this point) and dedicate more party resources to the grass roots "get out the vote" campaign. For Obama, that means mobilizing the unreliable youth vote and making sure all the Hillary supporters come out too.
The Republican's smart strategy for bringing Palin on the ticket was not to win over Hillary supporters or independents in any significant way, but to rally the socially conservative Republican base that had all but abandoned McCain. Choosing Palin is simply part of the Republican's "get out the vote" campaign.
The Democrats also need to strategize and focus on how they are going to get out the vote. Higher voter turnout almost always benefits Democrats. So, take some of that campaign energy directed towards "undecided" voters and start mobilizing the base to vote!