Political scientists Larry Bartels and Lynn Vavrek have put together a fascinating portrait of the small and elusive segment of the electorate that remains undecided. The majority of them are not independents. Those with party affiliations obviously are not pleased with their party's nominee, and the Democrats among them provide some troubling feedback for Obama, along with some apparent opportunity. The survey, however, reveals something astonishing about Republican attitudes toward Romney:
64 percent [of undecided Republicans] think Romney “says what he thinks people want to hear,” while only 8 percent think he “says what he believes.” (The corresponding percentages among other Republicans are 45 percent and 39 percent.)A higher percentage of decided Republicans believe that Obama was born outside the U.S. than believe that Romney "says what he believes." Imagine the numbers among Democrats. Yet slightly less or slightly more than half of Americans will vote for this man.
I was going to suggest that the Obama campaign start leaning again on the Etch-A-Sketch/flip-flopper theme, which some have suggested is at odds with highlighting the extremist policies that Romney has been induced to advocate (I think the two lines of attack are complementary). But perhaps Americans of all political persuasions have already priced in Romney's extreme propensity to pander.
P.S. Bartels and Vavrek also report this disturbing nugget:
Undecided Republicans are twice as likely as other Republicans...to express positive or neutral attitudes toward African-Americans (31 percent).Does that mean that 85 percent of Republicans as a whole (the undecideds are a small subset) express negative attitudes toward African Americans?