Photo: Flickr/Klearchos Kapoutsis
Polling in the presidential race is neck and neck, with just 19 days to go until the election.Each side has consolidated a strong base but neither has enough support to push them over into a majority yet.
The election, then, will come down to an enigmatic group of undecided voters that are alternatively pandered to and mocked in political circles.
So who are these people?
The composite for a prototypical undecided voter is:
- 18-to-29 years old
- Didn’t graduate from college
- Low income
- Union household
- Identifies as Protestant but doesn’t go to church
- Skipped the debate.
Here’s how we know: Typically it’s difficult to get the detailed internal data for the poll, but the Tarrance/LRP poll, released by Politico and George Washington University, is right out there for everyone to see, with a stunning 450 pages worth of raw demographic data. With a sample size of over 1,000 national likely voters, it’s statistically significant.
The most recent poll, taken Oct. 7-11 found that 8% of people are unsure about who they would support on election day. Approached demographically, groups that have rates of uncertainty greater than 8% are more likely to be undecided than the average voter. Check this example out:
Since we know that the per cent of the whole sample that was undecided was 8%, here’s the conclusion we can draw from this data:
- Protestants are more likely to be undecided than the average voter.
- Baptists, “Others”, and voters who are not religiously affiliated are as likely to be undecided as the average voter.
- Catholics and Pentecostal Christians are less likely to be undecided than the average voter.
So that’s why our prototypical composite undecided voter is a Protestant. Doing that for each of the demographics paints this picture:
Photo: Flickr/Alessandor Valli
The prototypical undecided voter is a white 18 to 29 year old woman who didn’t graduate from college. She’s employed, single, and identifies as an independent.In elections, she typically splits tickets and considers herself a soft Democrat. She is unsure if she identifies with the Tea Party movement.
She lives in a union household, and is considered low-income. She’s a Protestant, but goes to church infrequently or never.
She’s not sure about who would take the country in the right direction and doesn’t know who she plans to elect to congress. She did not watch the debate or any coverage of the debate.
Granted, this person is a composite and there are probably not a whole lot of people out there who are each and every one of these things.
Still, these are the qualities that make someone more likely to be undecided. Whichever candidate can win these groups over will win. The race is literally that close.
Even more, this busts the myth that campaigns are trying to reach out to both young single women and also undecided voters. The fact is, those two groups are comprised of mostly the same people anyway.
This election is all about young working women now. Whomever can make the better case wins the keys to the White House.
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