A friend pointed me to this article at The New Republic. It talks about the undecided voter:
Undecided voters aren’t as rational as you think. Members of the political class may disparage undecided voters, but we at least tend to impute to them a basic rationality. We’re giving them too much credit. I met voters who told me they were voting for Bush, but who named their most important issue as the environment. One man told me he voted for Bush in 2000 because he thought that with Cheney, an oilman, on the ticket, the administration would finally be able to make us independent from foreign oil. A colleague spoke to a voter who had been a big Howard Dean fan, but had switched to supporting Bush after Dean lost the nomination. After half an hour in the man’s house, she still couldn’t make sense of his decision. Then there was the woman who called our office a few weeks before the election to tell us that though she had signed up to volunteer for Kerry she had now decided to back Bush. Why? Because the president supported stem cell research. The office became quiet as we all stopped what we were doing to listen to one of our fellow organizers try, nobly, to disabuse her of this notion. Despite having the facts on her side, the organizer didn’t have much luck.
The level of amazement I felt as I read this article can’t be properly put into words (at least, not while I’m in this state). And yet, while I’m amazed, I’m not truly surprised. I’ve always felt that if you’re paying even the least bit of attention, and care even the tiniest amount about how politics affects your life, you have a basic idea of how you want to vote. You might not be sure that’s the right vote to make, but you aren’t “undecided” in the sense of not knowing who you’d like to vote for.
This country is filled with these “undecideds”, and they’re the ones who are making the difference in our lives. By not caring enough to care, those of us who do have to work that much harder to ensure their vote isn’t the deciding vote.
That borders on the absurdly unacceptable.