Home/Daniel Larison/Undecided Voters That Have No Business Being Undecided

Undecided Voters That Have No Business Being Undecided

This Molly Ball report includes an example of what is so maddening about undecided voters:

But Eileen and Zebib both said they hadn’t decided who to vote for. Zebib didn’t think Romney’s plans were specific enough. Eileen found Romney’s manner in the debates shamefully disrespectful to the office of the presidency. Eileen was strongly antiwar; Zebib was intrigued by the ideas of Rep. Ron Paul [bold mine-DL]. Unlike their more conservative cohorts, these women agreed that abortion is not any of the federal government’s business. But they also didn’t believe abortion rights were on the line in the coming election.

If I worked for the Gary Johnson campaign, anecdotes like this one would drive me up the wall. Here are two voters whose preferences are in broad agreement with Johnson’s views, neither of them is particularly swayed by appeals to social issues one way or the other, and they still don’t know how they’ll vote. I can understand why a “strongly antiwar” voter wouldn’t support Obama, and it makes sense that someone drawn to Ron Paul’s ideas isn’t ready to vote for Romney, but how could either of them still be undecided when there is a Libertarian candidate with views so close to their own?

Because these two happen to be in Virginia, perhaps they aren’t interested in casting a protest vote for Johnson, but that still makes it hard to understand how they could remain undecided. Obama is not and has never been antiwar, and he has rarely opposed U.S. military intervention, but Romney has been even more consistently supportive of every military action the U.S. has taken in the last twenty years. Obama is very far from being a peace candidate, but Romney is closer to being the anti-peace candidate. A “strongly antiwar” voter can’t possibly be considering voting for Romney. If one is intrigued by Ron Paul’s ideas, one should not be able to find much to admire in the ideas of the major party nominees. By their own standards and according to their own stated preferences, the voters in Ball’s report have no business being undecided at this point.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles