August 29, 2004


Crucial voters group unhappy with both major party candidates (STEVEN THOMMA, August 28, 2004, Detroit FREE PRESS)

There are only about 2.6 million of them, but they could hold the future of the nation in their hands.

They are undecided voters juggling whether they'll opt for George W. Bush or John Kerry. If this year's election is as close as expected, they are likely to decide it. [...]

In perhaps a bad sign for Bush, more of the undecideds voted for him in 2000 than for Democrat Al Gore, indicating that Bush hasn't persuaded them to stay with him after nearly four years in office. In 2000, 58.7 percent who had been undecided voted for Bush and 24.7 percent for Gore.

That means this election may go down to the wire and render an excruciatingly close decision, just like in 2000, that reflects a deeply divided country with a shrinking political center between two polarized parties.

Those conclusions emerge from an unusually detailed mid-August look at persuadable voters -- those undecided or those who are leaning one way or the other but are open to changing their minds -- by the Zogby/Williams Identity Poll. The Free Press and Knight Ridder Newspapers obtained exclusive access to the findings on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

Polled were 501 people who said they were likely to vote but were undecided or persuadable. Of them, 54.7 percent are men, 60.2 percent are married and 79.5 percent are white. Just 12.9 percent are NASCAR fans.

They tend to be more educated than most voters; 63.6 percent have a college degree and 29.5 percent have at least some college education.

They reject party labels; 46.1 percent call themselves moderate, 20.3 percent conservative and 9.7 percent liberal or progressive.

More favor abortion bans than abortion choice, 43.5 to 36.8 percent; more are pro-gun than for gun control, 49.8 to 32.4 percent; 19 percent favor gay marriage, 36 percent favor civil unions and 38 percent favor a ban.

[B]ush still has strengths with this group.

A slight 51.4 percent majority has a favorable opinion of him, while 47.7 percent are unfavorable. Two-thirds said they like Bush as a person; only 14.8 percent don't.

Asked to name Bush's most significant accomplishment, 45.7 percent said his leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; 20.2 percent said the war in Iraq.

Kerry also has openings -- and challenges.

His most formidable obstacle is that more than half -- 51.6 percent -- said they don't like him.

There was a sidebar accompanying this story in the local paper which made it even more apparent that these guys are conservative Republicans in all but name. The idea that John Kerry can carry the group seems lunatic, especially given that the President's favorable rating with them remains over 50% and they like him quite a bit while they dislike the Senator.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2004 5:54 PM

Sounds like these are largely anti-immigration types who are torqued with Bush about his stance, but will hold their nose and vote for him anyway.

On a related note, the local paper today profiled several Republican delegates, and quoted a few as being against Bush's "amnesty" program, with no clarification whatsoever. *sigh*

Posted by: Timothy at August 29, 2004 6:44 PM

<< In perhaps a bad sign for Bush, more of the undecideds voted for him in 2000 than for Democrat Al Gore, indicating that Bush hasn't persuaded them to stay with him after nearly four years in office. >>

I don't get this logic. Is he holding that the exact people that were undecided in 2000 are undecided in 2004?

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 29, 2004 7:20 PM


They're undecidedness, like their Independence, is an affectation.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2004 7:47 PM


They're like oj's New Hampshire compariots during the primary. They like to play hard to get and love the attention from the press suitors.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at August 29, 2004 7:52 PM

These can't be the same undecideds from 2000. Buchanan Republicans have to be a sizable component, and some Sam Nunn/Zell Miller Democrats. The rest must be brain-dead. I'm praying Bush doesn't use the convention to appeal to the latter group.

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at August 29, 2004 8:06 PM

My assumtion would be that somebody calls up and says I'm from the MSM poll and I want to ask a few questions. These folks are conservative, know that the MSM are liberal, hate to be impolite and don't want to discuss polotics or religion with strangers so they say the blandest thing that comes to mind like I am undecided. There that will get them off my back.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 30, 2004 1:09 AM

Dave - No fear - he'll use the convention to remind us of his strengths and to demonstrate that he has a forward-looking agenda.

Posted by: pj at August 30, 2004 10:46 AM