It is hard to believe that at this stage in the presidential election, that any voter is still undecided. But apparently, 15 percent of the electorate is still unsure of who to vote for.
Who are these indecisive citizens and how are the candidates eyeing for their attention? Three percent of undecided voters will not decide until the moment they cast their ballot, while the remaining 12 percent are persuadable to either candidate, according to Politico.
In an effort to understand the “undecided” voter, CNN has categorized them into six groups.
The millennial, the 20-25 year old college graduates with multiple part time jobs who are likely to live with their parents. Independent party affiliation who likely voted for Obama in 2008. They consider themselves optimist about American’s future but are turned off by traditional political rhetoric.
The catholic, who tend to be older, with a graduate or advanced degree and middle class social economic status. They have an active voter history with a tendency to lean right. These votes would agree with Mitt Romney’s conservative social stance, but are more confident in President Obama’s economic plan. In four of the past five presidential elections, the future President carried the Catholic vote.
With the nation’s unemployment rate hovering around eight percent, the unemployed voter, is the key to election success. They have the most to gain in 2012. These voters were likely offended by Romney’s “47 percent” comment, but do not dislike the idea of a businessman in the White House. They probably voted for Obama in 2008, but have not seen the change and economic improvement they were expecting.
In 2008, Latino’s overwhelmingly voted for Obama, with strong victories in southwest battleground states like Nevada. This year the Latino vote could go either way. The Republican family values appeal to the Latino base, but most voters still have a history of voting Democrat. The economy and immigration will be the deciding factors.
The single women demographic will count for almost a fourth of the voting population in 2012. They tend to lean Democratic and have yet to come out of the economic recession better than they were four years ago. In 2010, 55 percent of unmarried women relied on some form of federal assistance, compared to just 18 percent of married women. Women’s issues from abortion, to birth control will also strongly affect the undecided voter. Romney has been inconsistent on his stance on abortion, while his running mate Paul Ryan’s pro-life stance is crystal clear. Obama’s birth control policy has ruffled feathers among the pious.
While it may seem like Evangelicals and Republicans are one in the same, this election these voters face a conundrum. They have a hard time picturing a Mormon as president. The Evangelical voter has a strong effect in important battleground states like Ohio because of their high voter turnout. While it would be a stretch to suggest they are itching to vote the Democratic ticket, the option of staying at home on Election Day could hinder a Republican win. This attitude might be short lived given the July Pew Research survey that showed 17 percent of Americans believe Obama is Muslim.
In the sprint to Election Day, both campaigns are focusing their resources on the undecided voters in unprecedented proportions. The latest estimation by the Center for Responsive Politics, revealed that 2012 campaign spending will reach $6 billon. Pollsters predict it will be a tight race and that the undecided voters could close the margins to within just a few percentage points.
Terranova Tasker is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org