Undecided, So-Called Independent Voters: What The Hell Are You Waiting For?l

Are you waiting for some crash and burn moment?

I mean, seriously, have you not read the policies of both McCain and Obama? Is it still somehow unclear to you what their differences are at this point in time?

To have been undecided between McCain and Romney until the last minute, OK…they were from the same party and had many similar positions.
To have been undecided between Hillary and Obama? Again - OK, they were from the same party and also had many similar positions.

But to be undecided between Obama and McCain - really?!
Do you seriously not see a distinction between them that might, perhaps, be a deciding factor, one way or another?

Pardon me if I am being rude, but I think you have to be either liars (you have already made up your mind, but want to remain interesting in conversations and polls) or you are clueless.

Assuming I am an arrogant asshole who doesn’t understand your thought process, exactly what are you waiting for before deciding and when do you think you might get around to deciding for sure?

Have you never doubted between a pizza and a burrito? Yet you probably know the difference between both very well.

I’m sorry for this snarkish reply, but I what I’m driving at is your suggestion that the undecided have trouble seeing the differences between the two options, when in fact they might see those differences very clearly; they might feel torn because one candidate has an interesting position on issue A and the other might be strong on issue B; alternately, they might feel like they’re having to decide between two evils. Yet another option is that these voters don’t care too much about policy packages but rather focus on the personality of the candidates. At any rate, what’s the point in deciding early, when there’s still three debates coming up?

In the end, though, I think that those who still have not decided might very well end up never doing at all (and not vote) or if they do, be in doubt until the very last moment.

I think there are some folks out there who are mostly in favor of one candidate or the other, policy-wise, but might have a strongly held single issue (abortion, often) that favors the other.

But of course. On some issues, I like Obama’s position better. On others, McCain’s. Some issues are more important to me than others, either because I don’t care, don’t know enough (despite trying), or don’t expect a realistic implementation of a policy.

Things change as we get closer to the election. As the economy goes in the shitter, maybe McCain’s desire to remove trade restrictions becomes more important to me. As the economy goes in the shitter, I worry about my father’s job. Insurance companies won’t touch him, so if he loses his employee health benefits, he’s screwed.

Of course I have read the policies. I am still not convinced that either of them are worth it. And I am disgusted beyond belief that I only get two choices, disenfranchised with the whole process, and have rather had it up to here (makes gesture) with politicians on the whole.
NYS is going to be blue, I don’t see it going red anyway. I’m still not exactly sure how my vote counts. I will vote, but nobody’s going to force me to a decision by calling me names or insulting my intelligence. I’ll decide when I’m good and ready.

My mom pulls this crap every election. It’s an excuse for her not to vote. She’ll come up with the usual “They’re all crooks…” decision. She’ll whine about them never talking about the issues, all they do is attack each other, etc.

I can’t respect someone who can’t make up their mind.

That’s what I was going to say! The last two elections I have cast a vote for a Libertarian, mostly as a protest vote, but the Libertarian platform is where I tend to agree most strongly.

If it were a simple JM / Barack choice, I can understand the hesitation in choosing. However this isn’t the case. There are two other people involved on each ticket. Those VP candidates may have to step up to the plate should something happen to the President. One could do the job, one couldn’t. Why this doesn’t play heavily on the minds of the independents is beyond me.

Me too.
Another thing is that I really don’t want to talk about it. I’m sick of the election BS and have been for months. I’ll lie without a second thought when someone brings it up. I tell pollsters whatever I think will end the survey the fastest. I agree with whoever is talking. But truthfully I see a choice between a lying old Washington insider and his young mindless sidekick and a young mindless guy and his lying old Washington insider sidekick.

I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on any of them if they were on fire.

At last. Modern politics in a nutshell.

Švejk nailed it in one. The difficulty many undecideds have is in weighing some preferences against others.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t undecideds who just crave attention as the OP describes. They exist. There are also those who irrationally (or rationally from a personal benefit perspective) prefer to put a pox on both houses instead of having to make difficult decisions.

I’m all for inveighing against these latter two, but don’t group them with the ones in the first category.

I’m waiting for the election. What’s your hurry? You want to decide it now? Why?

There are many issues to weigh, and even if I may have decided long ago, I reserve the right to change my mind right up to the moment I step into the voting booth, if new information warrants. Why the hell do I have to announce my intent to a bunch of strangers if I don’t want to?

I’ll go so far as to say that whoever I end up voting for, they won’t be Republican, but otherwise I’ll let my vote speak for itself. I have no interest in carrying out the sort of unpaid(?) political advertising that routinely goes on here.

I think people forget that every election this happens. People are undecided and they decide two days before the election who theywill cast their vote for. All of us bickering back and forth - How could you vote for McCain - and - How could you vote for the Brown one, are just perpetuating what happens every election cycle.

One difference is that this election happens to be historic…more for the dems with their lead man being half black. However, the republicans happen to have a bit of a historic race as well with Palin, both because she is female and that she is not the heavy hitter with tons of experience that the pubbies usually would have chosen. Who knows maybe perhaps they don’t want to hang onto control this cycle. I don’t know.

I know I like Obama because of what he represents to this country and to the image the USA gives off to the world. If McCain wins many people globally will shake their heads saying, yep, the US did it AGAIN. They can’t move on…

This post is oddly defensive. The reason people express support for a candidate publicly is that democracy is about deliberation and discussion. The idea isn’t that you sit alone in your living room and emerge on election day with your vote. The idea is that you discuss issues and candidates with your fellow citizens because we are all enriched by the discussion and we will all make more wise decisions.

Additionally, your support for a candidate–whether money or time–makes your candidate more likely to win. Indeed, donating or volunteering likely has more of an effect than voting itself (at least marginally, though not if everyone did so). Even aside from non-voting support, making up your mind allows your candidate of choice to cross you off the list and focus on others. So it is completely rational to try to make up your mind sooner rather than later because that way your decision has a greater impact.

The implication in your post that only paid operatives would want to publicly defend a candidate is pretty incredible. Do you not think there are people that believe in certain policies and want to see them enacted?

What’s the rush?

I can’t do anything about it for a month, so why the hurry?

Maybe something will change, either about the candidates or the world situation, in the next 5 weeks.

What is the point is making up your mind early, when things are always in flux?

The OP was oddly accusatory.


Please note that I’ve read a lot of your contributions to these threads, and I generally highly respect your opinion, but here I’ve got to think you’ve badly misunderstood my post. Maybe I didn’t get my point across clearly; that happens often enough.

The ‘implication’ I supposedly made would indeed be incredible if true, but I have implied no such thing. I just don’t feel any obligation whatsoever to spend a significant amount of time trying to convince others of the correctness of my political viewpoints. You are of course welcome to spend your time as you wish.

My mistake for not remembering how accusatory the OP was. That lack of context colored my reading of your post. I read too much into the “unpaid(?) political advertising” line. It suggested to me your view that perhaps the explanation of people’s desire to defend a candidate was the fact that they were getting paid without acknowledging this.

I don’t necessarily disagree that you’ve no obligation to convince others of the correctness of your viewpoints. Though I think that participating in discourse about politics might be one of the imperatives of living in a democracy, my point was intended to be more circumscribed. I was just trying to explain why some people do wish to do so.

I’ve spoken to a few people who do this every Presidential election. Wait, let me get that right: every Presidential election. If, in 2012, we have Barack Obama running for reelection fresh off of a spectacularly successful first term running against Zargon, the 30 year-old, Martian-born, intergalactic devourer of planets, souls, and kittens, then they would still be freakin’ undecided! And the part that gets me is that they never seem to sit down for hours of soul-searching, after which they emerge with a grudging decision. No, they’re often undecided up until they probably pull that lever or push that button.

I only have two hypotheses for this sort of behavior: (1) they’re undecided because they’re too apathetic to actually bother making a decision (whether it’s because of the “pox on both their houses” mentality mentioned upthread, or perhaps because they just don’t care but feel they should), or – my favorite hypothesis – (2) they’re so in love with bipartisanship and “rising above the fray” that they feel making a decision would take away all their “I don’t care for the partisan politics that dominates our government” street cred, as if we care. It’s not like you’re the goddamned editorial board for the Washington Post. Just man up and make up your mind.

Or don’t. I don’t really care. But you’re not impressing anyone with your indecisiveness, if that’s your aim.

With a different Republican candidate or in a different time, I could well be one of the undecided ones. I am against gun control and a bigger federal government. The gun control issue puts me against Obama, and back before health insurance got so insanely expensive and when I was in a position where I had access to good health insurance, his health insurance policy would have been a point held against him. In 2000, when I was doing well financially, I really wanted to vote for McCain, and would have voted for Bush if it was not for his dirty campaigning against McCain. I liked Clinton, but didn’t feel the same way about Gore, and I don’t think I would have voted for Obama back then either.

Things have changed since then, and I’ve come to realize the need for a solution to the healthcare crisis (having suffered because of it). That, combined with McCain’s dirty campaigning and flip-flopping on the issues has put me in the Obama camp, but if I was still doing well financially, and hadn’t been among the uninsured for most of the last 6 years, I might still be undecided, especially if McCain had campaigned differently. If this was McCain of 2000 vs. Obama of 2008, I would probably still be trying to decide.