We Are the 75%

Although I rarely talk about politics here on Bud’s Blog, I am fiscally conservative, socially moderate, frequently libertarian curmudgeon who likes to keep track of where we are headed as a nation via polls.  The vehicle I choose is Rasmussen Reports, the electronic media company founded by Scott Rasmussen that features polls on the political world, current events, consumer confidence, business topics, and the president’s job approval ratings.  Rasmussen features automatic, telephone based polling and claims to focus on likely voters in order to achieve what it says is an unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy.   I won’t debate whether it’s the best poll or the most accurate, or even contest Time Magazine’s claim that Rasmussen Reports is conservative-leaning.  It is simply a convenient place for me to keep track of what’s going on without reading editorials that make me crazy..In the years that I’ve been following presidential elections on Rasmussen Reports, I’ve noticed that the presidential polls usually reamin stuck in the  same range, the Democratic and Republican candidates hovering between 45% and 50% with the rest undecided or supporting some third party candidate.   As the election approaches, the numbers fluctuate a little, maybe a few of the undecided deciding or giving up on the third party guys.  But what strikes me is that roughly 90% of us had our minds made up the whole time.  I say us because I’ve been in that 90% almost every time, too. What’s that mean?  Well, some us are voting along party lines.  Others are voting on philosophy.   Some of us have hot-button issues like abortion or the economy that allow us to decide on a candidate early.  I probably fall into this last category.  It’s a little disturbing that 90% of us are so closed-minded but also that approximately 10% of us may decide who becomes our next president.

But according to an article on Politico titled the disappearing undecided voter, there are two ways for presidential candidates to skin a voter.  He can go after the elusive … and according to the article, shrinking, cadre of undecided voters.   Or he can energize his baseTranslation: he can get the roughly 45% of us who have already made up our minds to actually go out and vote for him.  So now all us decided voters are enfranchised again, right?  Not so fast.  In clearly Red states or Blue states that don’t depend on turnout to determine the outcome, energized voters don’t matter … the party plurality is enough to carry the day regardless of turnout.   It’s only in the so-called Swing States, those listed as Toss-Up in Rasmussen’s electoral map, that voter turnout can equal or surpass the shifting tides of the undecided.  For the most part, these are less populous states, their total population making up roughly 17% of the population of the U.S.  Taking 17% of the 90% of decided voters, that means 15% of the population qualifies as energized voters that matter.   The rest of us, 75%, are unwitting spectators in the decision that will affect us all.

There’s something wrong here, don’t you think?

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2 Comments on “We Are the 75%”

  1. I’m afraid I find this perspective a little cynical, Bud. (And that’s saying something, coming from me, eh?) Respectfully, what would you prefer? A nation of citizens who have no idea what to stand for in any given election? If one of the 45% categories became a 40% category, it would be a decisive turn in favor of the other candidate. (Then again, as an Independent, I’m never assumed to be in anyone’s camp, so maybe I see things differently from where I sit!)

    • oldereyes Says:

      I don’t think there was enough thought behind it to be cynical, not that I can’t be cynical about politics. I was thinking about polls and started playing with the statistics, there was the post. It really has nothing to do with what I’d prefer … it seems to me, this is what is, regardless of how informed … or uninformed … our citizens are. For example, living in California, it doesn’t matter whether I’m an energized early decider or an independent late decider. My vote means nothing because our electoral votes will go to the Democratic candidate, regardless. Yes, I know there were three exceptions … hardly statistically significant.

      I did find it interesting (but didn’t mention) that on “issues questions” (do you think the Fed can keep inflation under control?), we are capable of strong opinions (63% no on Rasmussen Reports). I don’t know exactly where to go with that.

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