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Do Undecided Voters Use the Internet?

Scanning my newspaper over coffee this morning, an Associated Press story from the campaign trail leapt off the page:

SEMINOLE, Fla. — Eager to change the subject after a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama tried to rekindle some of the enthusiasm of his 2008 campaign Saturday with a bus tour through a m…

  1. Keith Rice
    George Savage

     The question is:  How can Obama-the-Challenger get away with his rhetoric given the immediate availability of contrary facts devastating to his argument?

    He can get away with it because the only people who would notice “contrary facts” would be his opposition, the “bad guys” his supporters have been trained to ignore.

  2. Casey

    Step one is obviously to get on a bus.

  3. Jerry Broaddus

    On your rhetorical question in the title, it begs a chicken/egg dichotomy. Do the uninformed go online and then come to conclusions based on what they see, or do people convinced of the righteousness of their ideology go online for affirmation?

    I do think that most online have minds made up and at this point those they’re pretty resistant to change. And even an obviously girating one man challenger/incumbent show won’t change many minds.

  4. Cincinnatus

    No, undecideds don’t use the Internet. I have a dear friend who owns a small business that has suffered these last few years. He voted for Obama last time, but when I ask him this time who he’ll vote for he says he doesn’t know. My friends and I try and persuade him with facts we’ve come across on ricochet, NR, et al., but he begins by questioning where we are hearing this because it isn’t in the papers or his oracle for truth, 60 Minutes. I find myself agreeing w/ Rob Long when he talks about undecideds wanting more details. No they don’t or they’d seek them out. They can’t be bothered w/ looking into details. They’ll make snap decision in the booth.

  5. dittoheadadt

    NOL carryforwards aren’t useless to small businesses.  Carrybacks are more valuable, since they free up previously-paid taxes immediately.  But NOLs of either kind are in fact useful to small businesses (my most recent examples are clients who in 2008 utilized the benefit to offset $230,000 and $252,000 of what would otherwise have been federal taxable corporate income).

    The difference is that my clients are “just” small businesses; the owners aren’t privileged corporate cronies.  And of course their benefit didn’t come close to the benefit the Solyndra cronies stand to reap.  But let’s be sure to make the right argument without using the wrong facts.

  6. Fake John Galt

    I have never met an undecided voter.  I have long suspected that this mythical creature is sort of like the unicorn.  I have known people claim undecided status so they can avoid getting into political discussions.  I have known others to claim undecided status to avoid harassment by the opposing side.  There are some that can truly care less about who is running since they believe their input does not matter but these folks don’t vote so they are not the “undecided voter”.  So if this mythical does exist I am doubtful that it can use the internet.

  7. genferei

    If the lickspittle media ever performed the role of holding public figures to account for the veracity of their statements that time is long gone. In order to free the republic from the tyranny of the misinformed it is vital the the forces of truth and freedom take concerted action to destroy the last redoubts of the liberal media establishment. After all, if there is no 60 Minutes there can be no one misled by its propaganda.

  8. KC Mulville

    Marshaling facts to sway undecideds is pointless. There’s plenty of facts to decide from. The reason they haven’t made up their minds has nothing to do with the quantity of information.

    Besides, let’s take a moment to consider the premise. Why do we consider them undecided? Because on a poll question, they refuse to choose one side or the other. But in that case, does the polling format accurately capture reality? Is it really the case that these people can’t make up their minds and hearts because they’re still trying to sift through the pros and cons?

    Like most human beings, there is the decision, and then their awareness of what their decision is. The human mind works frequently on the subconscious level, and consciousness only follows later.

    I say, for a good percentage of them, they’ve already made up their minds. They’re just not conscious of it yet. So there’s not point in trying to win them over – that would be a lot of money spent to sway a result that’s already determined. Why waste it?

  9. M. T. S.

    He can get away with it if we don’t disseminate this information – and make sure the threads are connected! This is what I see in Obama ads – they make short connections (i.e. Romney will lower taxes on millionaires, Romney is rich, therefore . . .) that try to highlight Romney’s supposed evil motives. I’d like to see more Romney ads that do this to Obama – not fabricating things, but just highlighting these real events.

    And personal preference, I’d prefer to hear about these from someone with a cheerful voice, rather than that dark, paranoid sounding voice from most “negative” ads. Maybe even someone talking about these crony connections like they are a positive – make it ironic?

  10. Barbara Kidder

    The truth is, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”  

    The ‘undecided’ care, like I do when I receive a big, fat envelope from our regional electric company asking me to choose a delegate to represent me on their ‘board’ and sign their proxy forms for the forthcoming annual meeting.

    They just don’t care…

  11. raycon and lindacon

    “Undecided voters” are a fiction created by polling companies to rationalize their failure to capture every opinion out there.  This convenient fiction is then grasped by GOP campaign consultants to provide their raison d’etre, and an amorphous explanation as to why their efforts are not working.

    To run a campaign aggressively promoting ideas, one must believe in those ideas, and the same is true about running a campaign against your opponents ideas.

    This scam is the GOP in operation.  It is why the party poohbahs oppose so vehemently conservative Republicans. 

    These people are dangerous. 

    They believe what they are saying.

  12. George Savage
    dittoheadadt: NOL carryforwardsaren’t useless to small businesses.  

    Thanks for allowing me to clarify what I was getting at in this part of my post.

    Most small businesses are organized as single-proprietorships or S-corporations–paying taxes at personal rates–and are too small to play the merger-and-acquisition game.  Acquiring C-corporation NOLs is therefore not helpful.  And acquiring a bankrupt business and merging it with a profitable one–the Argonaut Ventures’ plan for Solyndra–is not even practical.

    And many small businesses today are not profitable.  These enterprises are aggressively managing cash to survive long enough to participate in a broad-based economic recovery.   Needless to say, a money-losing business has no immediate need for the operating losses it accumulates.  What it needs is cash followed by economic growth.

    Financial engineering of the Argonaut Ventures sort–recycling federal loan money via the tax code into larger already-successful enterprises–is not a recipe for small business recovery and consequent job creation.

  13. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    As it happens, I know George Kaiser (Oklahoma is a very small place), and I am not in the slightest surprised that this whole business was structured in such a way that if Solyndra won he would win and if Solyndra failed he would also win. When it comes to making money for himself, George is nobody’s fool. When it comes to spending other people’s money, . . .

  14. Southern Pessimist

    I considered starting a post today entitled “How not to win friends and influence people” describing a dinner conversation last night with a well educated liberal friend who has read the NY Times from front to back for 40 years. He started the fireworks by making a snide comment about Fox News while Mrs. Pessimist was describing how all of her formerly liberal Canadian relatives have now come full circle in strong opposition to nationalized health care. When I pointed out to him that the only cost control mechanism in place in Obamacare was the IPAB, a 15 member board of bureaucrats who are not physicians and cannot be overruled by congress he insisted I was lying. The conversation became heated and Mrs. Pessimist began kicking me under the table. The point he kept making was that he didn’t know enough about medical care to trust a free market. I said, “So you want the government to make all these decisions for you?” and he said, “Yes, They are better equipped than I will ever be to make those decisions.” At this point Mrs. Pessimist said to me “if you say one more word I am leaving.”

  15. Devereaux
    Southern Pessimist – hard to debate with fools. I am particularly intrigued by the “they are better equipped” argument. I see absolutely nothing to point to the fact that government is better equipped to make any decisions. Certainly they generally have to make decisions that are “neutral” – ie. don’t benefit anyone. But that hardly is how one should make decisions for one’s own benefit. So I guess your liberal friend ends up in the position of admitting that he is so stupid that he can’t make a better decision about himself than some unknown GS 9. Good thinking. Guess he doesn’t deserve anything better than what the GS9 would come up with. 
  16. Southern Pessimist
    Devereaux: Southern Pessimist – hard to debate with fools. I am particularly intrigued by the “they are better equipped” argument. I see absolutely nothing to point to the fact that government is better equipped to make any decisions. Certainly they generally have to make decisions that are “neutral” – ie. don’t benefit anyone. But that hardly is how one should make decisions for one’s own benefit. So I guess your liberal friend ends up in the position of admitting that he is so stupid that he can’t make a better decision about himself than some unknown GS 9. Good thinking. Guess he doesn’t deserve anything better than what the GS9 would come up with.  · 44 minutes ago

    The frustrating thing is that he really has read the NY Times religiously and is generally well informed and believes that he knows all he will ever need to know. And he is not alone.

  17. Southern Pessimist

    But to bring it back to Dr. Savage’s point, he likes to say that he  listens to Rush Limbaugh or watches Fox News and it reinforces his opinion that conservatism is total BS but I have never heard him bring up an interesting topic or factoid that he found on the internet. My wife and I discuss what we found on the net that day almost daily. 

  18. Chris Johnson

    Well, no, I suppose they don’t; not for news/politics.

    That rally was at St. Pete Junior College, but was not attended by students, in large proportion.  It was a gathering of the faithful, middle-aged, leftists.

    Meanwhile, I am pleased to say that undecided voters do watch the Packers play the 49ers.  I had to kill an hour while waiting for my beloved and watched the game end.  After the game, two guys nearby got into an intense, but not heated discussion of the recent jobs numbers.  As I was leaving I stopped by their table, excused myself, and firmed up the numbers they had been guessing at.  They now know the basic fact that it takes 152,000 new jobs per month to keep up with population growth.  And that around 10,000 Boomers retire per day, ceasing to pay into entitlements and beginning to draw from them.

    I suspect they trusted my numbers and were then less concerned about the Packer’s loss.  They seemed subdued and contemplative.

    They’re on the ‘net, but not for politics.  It’s our job to make responsible and polite pitches, when we see an opportunity.

  19. Barbara Kidder
    raycon: “Undecided voters” are a fiction created by polling companies to rationalize their failure to capture every opinion out there.  This convenient fiction is then grasped by GOP campaign consultants to provide their raison d’etre, and an amorphous explanation as to why their efforts are not working.

    To run a campaign aggressively promoting ideas, one must believe in those ideas, and the same is true about running a campaign against your opponents ideas.

    This scam is the GOP in operation.  It is why the party poohbahs oppose so vehemently conservative Republicans. 

    These people are dangerous. 

    They believe what they are saying. · Sep 9 at 10:39am

    Carl Rove comes to mind…loyal to no ideals, but spending night and day working to keep themselves busy, reading the tea leaves, to justify their own existence.

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