Political pundit Fernand R. Amandi tweeted this today: “Serious question. Do you personally know of even a single, genuinely undecided voter for President, this November? Because I don’t.” I think he’s onto something here, and it’s important to parse it out.
During the general election, TV news networks love to highlight focus groups of people who say they’re undecided whether to vote for the Democrat or the Republican. But out in the real world, these types are pretty rare. They do exist, but you have to ask a lot of people before you find someone who’s seriously open to voting for either general election candidate. It feels like the media only promotes this “undecided” demographic for ratings, because the rest of us stay glued to the TV in confusion over how this demographic even exists.
That said, there are two very real “undecided” groups. The first group is trying to decide whether to vote for Joe Biden or stay home. The second group is trying to decide whether to vote for Donald Trump or stay home. The reason Biden runs negative ads about Trump is that he’s trying to convince potential Trump voters to stay home. The reason Trump makes up phony scandals is that he’s trying to convince potential Biden voters to stay home.
So if you want to help your candidate win, you try to convince the “undecideds” on your side to go ahead and show up and vote, and you want to convince the “undecideds” on the other side to stay home. As for those focus groups on TV who claim to be equally open to voting for either candidate… well, you’d have to actually find people like that before you can try to sway them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report