Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Undecided Voter: Myth or Reality?

I have a theory. It is somewhat mirrored by all that talk of preference cascading that's been going on at sites like Ace of Spades. I think most "undecided voters" are engaged in an epic level of self-deception.

Rewatch the debate; each undecided voter had built in biases into their questions (the easiest to see is anti-Romney in the Bush question and anti-Obama in the Libya one); they've made a decision, they just haven't actualized it in their mind. Sort of like the undecided voter in the Fox panel who said she was undecided between Romney and not voting, or the woman in the MSNBC panel who said she was voting for Obama for reasons never mentioned in the debate.

It's possible there are people who are really conflicted/don't have an opinion yet, but the vast majority of undecideds are simply waiting for something that brings them to realizing what everyone around them already knows. It's sort of like the cuckolded husband; he's always the last to know. Everyone else knows before hand, but him? Oblivious to the reality around him.


I think that's the way for a lot of decision making though, and it isn't necessarily bad. People like to take their time coming to a decision, especially if there is no need to rush. Additionally, in today's hyper-partisan world, being undecided makes you less likely to accidentally lose friends and alienate people. Indecisiveness may actually be an evolutionary strategy.

The other issue is that I think a lot of "soft" supporters of a candidate are chunked in with undecided voters. Take the two women on the panels I cited above. There's no reason to consider them undecided; they've made a decision. We're just led to believe that they are either persuadable (to change their vote) or possible to depress out of voting. That's hardly the same as what we mean when we say "undecided" voter. If I'm undecided about where to go to dinner, I have no preference. If I kind of want Italian, but could do whatever, I have a preference. It is just not strong.

Yes. I just used dinner and adultery to make points about politics. Today is lazy, bad analogy day. 
 
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P.S.,

This gets a romance tag! I'm also going back and tagging the 3-d puzzle heart with the romance tag. Now if you need a website to explain how much you love someone with low-quality photos, you can come to me! ... Don't come to me for this. What? You wanted real politics? Fine, just remember, politics is a sometimes blog topic. Also, I'm incredibly lazy and pretty much just swiped this word-for-word from a post on Facebook. Rule #1 of Matt Blogging: Easy content is the best content. Except poll analysis. Never, ever do poll analysis.

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