Why would Ohio have more undecided voters than other states?

Throughout the campaign, cable news channels seem to be devoting a lot of attention to “undecided Ohio voters”; using them for debate reactions, stating that there are more undecideds in Ohio than other states, and so on. My question: why can’t people in Ohio make up their minds? Why would there be a higher percentage of undecided voters in Ohio compared to other states?

Because it’s high in the middle and round on both ends. DUH!

Did they say “more undecideds in Ohio” or did they say “higher percentage of undecided voters in Ohio?”

If the former, well, duh, Ohio has more people than most states. If the latter, we’ll get to that in the next class.

It’s probably just that Ohio is a traditionally divided state. In a state where 70% are reliable Republican voters and 20% are reliable democrats, the remaining 10% don’t really matter as much. Whereas if it’s 45/45, those 10% undecideds are extremely important, especially in a state with 20+ electoral votes.

70% Republican? Do you have a cite for that? Some of its redneck, but it’s not THAT redneck.

My answer to the OP is that I think most people who say they’re undecided at this point just don’t want to say who they’re going to vote for.

I thought I was being clear that the 70% was being used as a hypothetical. As in “If there’s a state where it’s always 70% republican, the undecideds don’t matter, but Ohio is traditionally close, so the undecideds are disproportionately important”

I doubt that Ohio has more undecided voters, either as a percentage of the electorate or in real numbers, than elsewhere. It’s just that Ohio is a swing state, so they’re “more important” than they would be in, say, Hawaii or Utah.

David Sedaris recently said something along the lines of, “I don’t understand what’s up with undecided voters. It’s like they were on an airplane and the stewardess asked, ‘For your dinner this evening, can I interest you in the chicken cordon bleu, or a plateful of shit covered with broken glass?’” :smiley:

I suspect there’s a fair number of undecided voters in Ohio who chat up Jehovah’s witnesses and invite door-to-door salesmen in for coffee.

My bad. I misread your post. It’s not unclear, I just read it too carelessly.

Ohio is… peculiar. I’ve lived here all my life aside from university and damn if I know what the hell anyone here is thinking. Ohioans particularly like to give you reason to hope and then rip out your heart and stomp on it. It’s a team sport, like football!

JFK once said, “Nowhere do I get a warmer welcome and fewer votes than Columbus, Ohio.” :smiley:

Ohio is also a major bellwether - the winner of Ohio has won the election in all but (I think) two elections in the last 100 years. The county where I grew up (Stark) is also considered one of the biggest bellwethers in the State (that county has voted for the eventual winner in all but one of the elections dating to 1964…and that was the '04 election, where they picked Kerry by a slim margin).

Add a large population and it’s easy to see why it’s so hotly contested here. I don’t think it’s that there are more undecideds, just that there is a very even split of Pubs and Dems that the Independents swing the state in each election.

Yes, but it’s only a swing state **because of the undecideds. Illinois used to be a swing state, then more people started voting Democrat either because they decided to be, and/or more Democrats moved in.

If all the Ohio undecideds decided to consistently vote, say, Democrat, it would look blue on the election maps from the get go, like Illinois.

Illinois was a swing state because the Chicago area tended to vote very heavily Democrat, and the southern rural area tended to vote very heavily Republican. It’s still the same, but the Chicago population has grown and the rural population has – well, I don’t know, probably declined, like most rural populations.

I find it very interesting that the division seems to be urban vs rural, throughout the country. Urban folks tend to vote Democrat, and rural folks tend to vote Republican.

Speculating here, but it’s possible the rural areas are going moderate or Dem by virtue of urban flight, an example being NW Nevada, Washoe County.

I’ve been wondering lately–why is Ohio traditionally divided? Is there some cultural aspect that keeps it politically fractured?

Whatever it is, it’s a winning formula, according to some statistics I just compiled on ElectoralMap.org. Ohio is 42-9 in picking the President. They’re not so split over the long haul (31 Republican picks, including Whig and National Union, versus 14 Democratic picks, since the dawn of the second party system), but their record since 1900 is more even (17 Pubbies to 10 Dems).

Amazingly, Ohio picks have only lost twice since 1900 (Dewey and Nixon).

What the hell is it about Ohio?

To finish the quote, it’s as if they paused for a second and then asked, "How is the chicken cooked?

It’s mostly down to the urban/rural thing Dex mentioned: There are three decent-sized cities in Ohio, but there’s also a lot of farmland in between. Depending on which one turns out more, the state can go either way.

The fast food ads are simply too big a distraction.

Fearless prediction: Ohio goes for McCain. I know the latest polls (including the Columbus Dispatch poll published today) show Obama with a middling lead. I’m just not buying it.

Not this year. Good weather favors Obama. Lack of Republican machinery in charge of Ohio–favors Obama.

Were you there at the Palace the other night? Lillith Fair and I were there! But I felt vaguely offended, because I am one of those undecided voters. It was the only thing he said I couldn’t laugh at.