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2%
October 20, 2004 9:59 AM   Subscribe

2 Percent: Original recipe.
Extra crispy.
It's not that tough a choice.


So, what's up with those undecided voters? A slightly more polite version of Samantha Bee's "How the f*** do you dress yourself in the morning?!" question.
posted by GriffX (36 comments total)

 
David Talbot at salon.com posted this after the third debate. I think he sums it up pretty well:
OK, America, now that you've watched the last presidential debate, the choice should be perfectly clear -- even for you dazed undecideds still out there. On one side, we have a candidate who thinks we should have targeted Osama more than Saddam; we should allow cheaper prescription drugs to be imported from Canada; we should give women the right to choose and would not appoint any justice to the Supreme Court who feels differently; we should outlaw assault rifles; we should raise the minimum wage; we should uphold affirmative action; we should offer all Americans the same health coverage enjoyed by their elected leaders. And the other candidate? Well, he doesn't believe in any of that. But he is a man of deep faith. Oh, and he loves his wife and kids a whole lot.

If you're still confused about how to vote after tonight, maybe it would be better for you to go see "Team America" instead on election day.
posted by skallas at 10:07 AM on October 20, 2004


Imagine there is not just one Earth, but many...a multiverse of alternate timelines and realities...where JFK was never assassinated, or where Japan won World War II, or where stepping on a butterfly in the Jurassic period changed the rest of history...

...Anyway, in the alternate dimension this guy describes, in which both Bush and Kerry are "tremendous figures," it makes perfect sense to be undecided. But in our reality, not so much.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2004


I believe that at this point in the race, "undecideds" are either: posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:15 AM on October 20, 2004


I think that there are people who are undecided because they're "two-issue voters". For example, someone who is adamantly opposed to abortion, and thus drawn to Bush, but who is also adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq, and thus drawn to Kerry.

Or someone who is a wholehearted supporter of the current Israeli government, and thus drawn to Bush, but concerned at the growth of the "America is a Christian nation" rhetoric in Bush's platform, and thus drawn to Kerry.

Or perhaps someone who has a strong belief that taxes should be lower, and thus drawn to Bush, but who also has a strong belief that deficit spending is bad, and thus--well, perhaps not drawn to Kerry, but repelled from Bush.

Then there are people who just don't like either candidate.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2004


The one undecided I know is a Bush voter with an attack of conscience. He doesn't know what to do. He really wants to vote GOP, but can't defend it. He is too stubburn to vote dem. He said he might just vote Nader and be done with it, in other words, a protest vote.

I suspect this mentality is not unique. I suspect a lot of people are waiting for Bush to do something good for once and it just hasnt happened. And it if it does, I doubt it will be enough to negate the past 3+ years.
posted by skallas at 10:24 AM on October 20, 2004


inksyndicate: in the alternate universe the linked rant describes, the plane hijackings in 2001 were "the first attack on United States soil by a foreign invader", which pretty much rules out Pearl Harbor. We can assume that his timeline forked from ours sometime before WWII, which changes the whole historical context for alternate-Bush and alternate-Kerry; maybe in his universe there was no Vietnam war either, so Bush never had to dodge the draft and Kerry never earned any Purple Hearts or became an anti-war activist.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:29 AM on October 20, 2004


There are a significant amount of Nader/Other Candidate voters who could be swayed if they believed their vote could be the deciding factor between Bush and Kerry.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:31 AM on October 20, 2004


Perhaps undecided voters are hoping a miracle will occur and either party will come up with a real candidate. A cold, half-eaten croisandwich could beat Bush or Kerry in the popular vote.

We have to choose between a vacillating, "I have a magic wand" jack-off, and a brain damaged frat boy with a history of total failure.

I suspect "undecideds" are really "disgusteds"
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:37 AM on October 20, 2004


the undecided voters i know view the two candidates as largely undifferentiated and the choice between them as odious. each undecided voter i know vacilates between the two in rhythm to the invective being spewed (whichever is being more nasty today loses the vote).

the nader voters i know cannot be swayed to either candidate because their vote for nader is, in essence, a vote protesting the party system.

as for how one can be undecided in the presidential election and yet determine which clothes to put on in the morning. . . well, assuming the undecided voter bought the clothes, it's pretty easy to find something in the closet that represents him or her. between those two men? not so much.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2004


The one undecided I know is a Bush voter with an attack of conscience. He doesn't know what to do. He really wants to vote GOP, but can't defend it. He is too stubburn to vote dem. He said he might just vote Nader and be done with it, in other words, a protest vote.

Wouldn't it make more sense to vote for the liberatarian candidate then?
posted by drezdn at 10:43 AM on October 20, 2004


2% is not an accurate figure. The polling firms push people hard for answers. An exchange might go like such:

Q: If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?
A: I don't know.
Q: If you had to choose?
A: I really don't know.
Q: OK, well, think about it.
A: Um. But I don't--
Q: Bush, Kerry, or Nader?
A: Uh. *pause* Kerry.

Will this person vote for Kerry, or Bush? Who the hell knows? But in the poll results, that's a Kerry vote right there.

The scary thing is, of course, that this means that far more than 2% of America can hardly get dressed in the morning.
posted by waldo at 10:44 AM on October 20, 2004


Mars: Hawaii wasn't a state until 1959. You can argue either way that a territory constitutes "national soil", but to me it would be like France claiming that their homeland had been attacked if someone blew something up on Guadeloupe.

Of course, the war of 1812 was something else entirely, but I guess it depends on whether or not the British really recognized the American state (they signed the Treaty of Paris and everything, but it seems that a grudge was held too).
posted by lowlife at 10:47 AM on October 20, 2004


Mars, Hawaii was not US soil at the time. Neither was a suicide-plane attack on 9/11 an invasion.

The Scott Paulson piece is terribly written and dumb. Not recommended.

And on the subject of undecided voters, the split-issue folks as described by Sidhedevil must be 99% of people who are actually going to vote but haven't picked yet.
posted by damehex at 10:48 AM on October 20, 2004


omfg there exist people who don't think exactly as I do holy shit sweet jesus lord above preserve us all
posted by kavasa at 10:48 AM on October 20, 2004


>Wouldn't it make more sense to vote for the liberatarian candidate then?

Hehe, Funny you should mention that. He has no idea who the lib candidate it. Nor does anyone else, really. To the media there are three candidates Kerry, Bush, and Nader. Badnarik is the name that must never be spoken! We don't want to lose any Bush voters that way.
posted by skallas at 10:51 AM on October 20, 2004


Ahh, true, I'd forgotten that Hawaiian statehood was so recent. Oh, well; that line is still a piece of useless hyperbole.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:59 AM on October 20, 2004


Mars's tricorder readings are correct.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:01 AM on October 20, 2004


A cold, half-eaten croisandwich...

...versus an inanimate carbon rod. what to do?!?!?!?!
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on October 20, 2004


Here are a few folks who you'd think would have trouble deciding and torn elections feelings etc., but no-- "Blood is thinner than Oil: www.bushrelativesforkerry.com. This internets is good.
posted by limitedpie at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2004


I believe that at this point in the race, "undecideds" are either...

good god, i'm a card-carrying member of The Left (tm), and i agree 100% with s@l on something.

maybe there is hope for this country.

nah.

although if the sox win tonight, all bets are off for anything ever making sense again.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2004


Hey, to me, Badnarik is the guy who's all for letters of marque and reprisal!

The attack on Pearl Harbor absolutely was seen by US citizens as an attack on United States soil, partly because Hawaii was a US possession, and partly because US military bases are always considered to be "United States soil".

The attack on Pearl Harbor was always, always framed in US rhetoric of the period as a cowardly attack against the US which should inspire a spirit of shared purpose. For example, the song "Let's remember Pearl Harbor/As we go to meet the foe/Let's remember Pearl Harbor/As we did the Alamo" was an enormous hit.

So Mars's comment is absolutely true to the spirit of December 1941. And this guy is an idiot. Also, the British burned down the damn White House in 1812--and now we're back to the letters of marque and reprisal!
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:21 AM on October 20, 2004


(by "this guy" I mean the guy linked to in the FPP)
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:22 AM on October 20, 2004


The campaign has turned from what it was - one of two intelligent men, offering differing opinions and solutions - to a contest of who can piss on the other guy more frequently.

*snort*

I don't think this guy's been watching the same campaign as I have.
posted by kjh at 11:30 AM on October 20, 2004


A cold, half-eaten croisandwich could beat Bush or Kerry in the popular vote

I would certainly vote for The King. Although I suppose, being a king, he doesn't need my support.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:59 AM on October 20, 2004


Enormous power magnifies small differences enormously.

When Brian fucking Leiter (or for a better-known example, Noam Chomsky) is urging people to vote for Kerry, it's hard for me to understand the people who can't decide between the two because they're so similar, or who'll vote for Nader to undermine the party system (good luck! I'm hoping to undermine consumerist culture by not owning a television! I think I'm making progress.) are just nuts. It would make sense either if there were a viable third party, or if voting actually had nothing to the elections, but to complain that neither major candidate represents you--well, of course not. I would bet that neither candidate represents the majority of mefites, say. What are these people holding out for, a revolution? Are they knights of infinite faith? How anyone can expect that a Kerry administration will be similar to Bush's with respect to human rights & civil liberties, or overweening arrogance, is quite literally beyond my comprehension, as is the prospect of someone acknowledging how awful Bush has been on those fronts and yet claiming that Bush and Kerry are so similar in other respects as to render them functionally indistinguishable.

Michael Berube can say it better than I can.

Nader 2000 endorsers encourage votes for Kerry.

Two extracts from Chomsky.
posted by kenko at 12:03 PM on October 20, 2004


Funny, isn't it, how the media lavishes so much attention on the people who are clearly the least concerned. Heavens forbid we should actually waste time on informed, opinionated people discussing the issues.
posted by muckster at 1:01 PM on October 20, 2004


Undecideds don't bother me nearly as much as:

(A) people who agree that Bush is incompetent but will not even think about voting for Kerry due to partisan loyalty.

(B) "Veterans for Bush." He cut your freakin' benefits. He sent more soldiers into combat ill-equipped and ill-prepared. Feed the hand that bites you?

(C) people who will vote for Bush simply because he hates gays.

(D) mimes.
posted by Foosnark at 1:11 PM on October 20, 2004


I would really love it if the Greenies and the Republicans could get together and reconcile how kerry can be at once the most liberal senator and 'almost as right-wing as bush'.

The reality-based community awaits a response.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:18 PM on October 20, 2004


Well, first of all, Kerry isn't the most liberal senator--Kennedy is the most liberal senator, and the second most liberal senator is Clinton, and the third most liberal senator is Feinstein, and the fourth most liberal senator is probably Leahy, and the fifth most liberal senator...oh, I could go on for about twenty more senators before I got to Kerry.

And second of all, New York isn't particularly close to Chicago, but if you're coming from Sydney, Australia, the difference suddenly seems negligible.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2004


National Journal: Most liberal senators, lifetime voting:
1. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
2. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.
3. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
4. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.
5. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
6. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
7. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
8. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
9. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
10. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt
posted by psmealey at 2:34 PM on October 20, 2004


skallas quotes approvingly:

> On one side, we have a candidate who thinks we should give women the
> right to choose and would not appoint any justice to the Supreme Court who
> feels differently; we should outlaw assault rifles; we should raise the minimum
> wage; we should uphold affirmative action;

Well, y'know, I'm definitely against all that (and more); but Georgie seems such a, um, hopeless klutz! So I'm really, really torn about whether to vote for him or not. But of course voting for John-boy is entirely out of the question, so what to do? I suppose I'll be reduced to writing in Cheney for prez, he appears to be the brains of the gang, or at least some of 'em, while George is none of 'em.
posted by jfuller at 2:55 PM on October 20, 2004


Who are these undecided people? Try working class conservatives across the country.

They feel a certain moral and character pull toward Bush, but they're worried about things like jobs and social security as well. They think Saddam was a bad man who needed to be removed, but they've got kids in the service whose tours have been extended, and who are woefully under-equipped. They hate seeing those gays defiling marriage, but they also hate seeing tax cuts go to the rich.

GWB is a rich boy draft dodger drunk and a dunderhead to boot. He's got none of the Reagan appeal. Zip. He's the default choice of the Red State voter, but a shit candidate, specifically, for a lot of people who hold to the conservative platform, generally. And, for the only vaguely conservative, GWB's moral/character appeal is cancelled out by his economic performance, plus a lot of unhappiness about the war.

Now disgruntled rednecks have no love for flip-a-floppin' liberals like Kerry, but when it comes down to it on election day, I bet a lot of them will hold their nose and vote (D), even if only out of spite and frustration over the way things have gone the past 4 years. Good old boy charm only goes so far.
posted by scarabic at 2:59 PM on October 20, 2004


scarabic, i get the feeling that if ppl such as those you described exist, they aren't broadcasting their intentions (or lack thereof). ;-)

they may, in fact, be letting it known quite loudly how solidly they're behind bush -- so that their neighbors and co-workers don't start thinking bad things about them -- and then voting for kerry in the booth. i don't think too many of them would let it be known that they're undecided: declaring that one is undecided would be as good as declaring oneself for kerry in some places i've been to (east texas & north texas, i'm looking at you).
posted by lord_wolf at 3:06 PM on October 20, 2004


Well, see, there you go. Neither my ass nor National Journal's ass says that Kerry is the most liberal senator (I assume that the National Journal pulled that data out of its collective ass with about as much thought as I gave it). I feel bad for not thinking of Dayton and Sarbanes, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:45 PM on October 20, 2004


He lost me at the first line.

And what Steve_at_Linnwood said.
posted by rushmc at 5:07 PM on October 20, 2004


>ood luck! I'm hoping to undermine consumerist culture by not owning a television! I think I'm making progress

I was wondering why the Sears by me closed down.
posted by skallas at 5:24 PM on October 20, 2004


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