Who are the Undecided Voters and How Many Remain?
How Many Undecided Voters Are There?
On October 20, Yahoo!News asked this question: How are there still undecided voters this late in the race?
Despite the major differences between the candidates’ visions for the country — some voters are still on the fence. Recent polls show that anywhere between 2 percent and 8 percent of the electorate say they’re undecided.
Because of their potential to swing the outcome of elections, undecided voters get an outsized share of attention from campaigns and political media. Their opinions are sought out in news stories, in televised focus groups and at debates with the goal of finding out what, if anything, might sway their decision.
Undecided voters are also the subject of equal parts fascination and derision from some members of the public who find it inexplicable that anyone could still be on the fence this late into a race with such starkly different candidates. “To be undecided in 2020, to me, you literally would have to be on an ice floe,” one political analyst said. Late night host Stephen Colbert called such people “mentally impaired unicorns.”
That was October 20.
Today, I answered this way to a direct question.
There are fewer undecided voters today than on October 20.
North Carolina: How Many Decided After the Final Debate?
That is not a scientific study but it is interesting.
My guess is that most of them were probably leaning Biden.
- Many are dissatisfied with both candidates: “Many … are longtime Republicans wrestling with what they see as a choice between two lousy candidates: a Democrat whose policies they cannot stomach and a Republican incumbent whose personality revolts them.” — Jill Colvin and Aamer Madhani, Associated Press
- The real choice is whether to vote at all: “Very few [undecided voters] actually say that there’s a chance that they would vote for the other party’s candidate. More realistically, it’s that these voters may not be motivated to vote at all in the 2020 election.” — Public opinion researcher Ashley Kirzinger to Marketplace
- Many are third-party voters searching for the best choice among major-party nominees: “Some undecideds turn out to be people who’ve long felt alienated from the two big political parties, who voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein in 2016 and now think their vote may have greater impact if they can make their peace with Biden or Trump.” — Marc Fisher, Christine Spolar and Amy B Wang, Washington Post
- They’re torn between personality and policy: “They are nervous about Trump’s persona and they are nervous about Joe Biden’s policies, and that’s what is holding them back. It’s not that they can’t see a difference between the two candidates. They see a tremendous difference.” — Republican pollster Frank Luntz to CNBC
- Undecided voters are less politically engaged: “They’re not following the 24-hour news cycle, they’re getting political news second hand or seeing it somewhere else. They’re people who are just living their lives and can’t find the time to care strongly. The election and politics are just not a high priority.” — Public opinion researcher Chris Jackson to Newsweek
- Their political opinions don’t follow the same logic as those of typical voters: “One common trait: at this stage of the game, the undecided voter doesn’t fit into an easy political profile but rather possess a more idiosyncratic worldview.” — Victoria McGrane, Boston Globe
- Whatever their motivation, undecided voters get far too much attention: “There is a group of people in America, a very small group, who are likely the least informed, yet are receiving more attention from the media than any other group of people in the country right now. They are the undecided voter. And our obsession with them is a dangerous distraction during a critical time.” — Kathleen Davis, Fast Company
I agree with all 7 perspectives.
Assume 4 percent remain undecided.
Some won't vote, some will vote for Biden, some will vote Green, some will vote Libertarian, some will vote for Trump.
This isn't 2016 when a huge majority of 13% undecided voters broke for Trump due to understandable Hillary hatred on top of a last minute Comey bombshell.