I keep saying that this election -- and all elections -- is about the "twelve or fifteen percent" in the middle. The undecideds. The "persuadable Obama voter."
We are going after disaffected Obama voters, but I'm wrong about that number, apparently. From Politico:
The swing vote in this year’s presidential race may be as small as ever, as polarized partisans dig in behind their respective nominees. The collection of voters who could actually change their minds under the influence of the candidate and the campaign itself includes many of the usual suspects: downscale Midwesterners, suburban women and other better-educated, higher-income white Americans...
Obama and Romney have tended to overperform among better-educated, upper-income voters. They have both struggled to connect with the working class. Obama had a hard time overcoming Hillary Clinton’s downscale advantage in the 2008 cycle and Romney repeatedly lost the category to Rick Santorum in this year’s GOP primary.
Complicating matters further, the two demographic groups — upscale and blue-collar white voters — can’t necessarily be courted with the same message; a populist pitch that motivates the blue-collar vote may alienate upper-income voters just as strongly.
Which may be good news:
Strategists privy to internal polling on both sides of the 2012 race say that higher-end suburbanites — particularly white women — are perhaps the most closely divided persuadables. One Republican operative involved in 2012 strategy put it this way: “We are going after moderate, upscale people, who maybe for the first time voted for a Democrat for president [in 2008] and are rethinking that.”
“They just kind of fit the classical description of what swing voters are these days: for the most part fiscally conservative, probably don’t mind raising taxes on the really rich, don’t like the Republican social-issue agenda, want a good economy, fiscal sanity, but aren’t ideological in one way or the other,” the strategist said.
So it's a smaller slice of the electorate we have to win -- well, win back -- but they're persuadable.