For Romney and Obama, it all comes down to ‘the persuadables.’ Are you one?
Swaying the 6 percent of likely voters who haven't yet decided could determine the presidential election. Who's really left to convince in an election where the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are so stark?
President Obama hit the “Morning Mayhem” radio show in New Mexico this week, talking up soul food and super hero powers. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, is in Florida, chatting Medicare with seniors, his elderly mom in tow as proof that he’s not about to throw “granny off a cliff,” as critics have suggested.Skip to next paragraph
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As the final leg of the 2012 election approaches, the gambits are telling: After nearly endless primaries, base voters on both sides are largely locked in, ready to vote.
So, what’s really at stake now are perhaps 6 percent of likely voters who are still undecided. What’s more, according to recent polls, nearly 20 percent of those voters would consider changing their mind. And then there’s the 80 million or so “unlikely voters” – Americans largely turned off by politics and Washington cynicism who, nevertheless, could make a huge splash if even a small percentage decided to vote after all.
Seen that way, it looks like the race is wide open with the two candidates running neck-in-neck in major national polls.
But not so fast. Despite the third of Americans who are technically independent “swing voters,” the numbers of actual “persuadables,” as they’re called, has been shrinking. The Pew Research Center found recently that – surprise, surprise – liberals have become more liberal and conservatives more conservative, comprising the book ends of the election.
“There’s a very small slice of people who are genuinely undecided, but it’s enough to win the presidency,” Rich Beeson, the political director for Mr. Romney’s campaign, tells the Associated Press.
One group of persuadables is Hispanics, who have in the past shown a willingness to break party lines to vote for specific candidates.
In recent days, the Romney campaign seems to have largely ceded the Hispanic vote by forgoing picking Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as VP – even though there’s general support for President Obama’s new immigration policy allowing young Hispanics who were brought to the US as children to apply for “deferred action” from immigration authorities so they can become legal to work and drive.
One reason Romney may have tacked away: Analysts often overemphasize the Hispanic impact on elections.
In Florida, the swing state’s huge population of seniors could really hold the key, part of the reason why Romney and Ryan are going on the offensive on Medicare reform, pitching it as a way to save the venerable entitlement program as opposed to Obama’s “robbing” it to pay for health care reform law. (Democrats accuse Republicans of planning to “gut” Medicare, a line that, if it sticks, could doom the Romney-Ryan ticket.)