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Voting categories and how they break down
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, July 10, 2008

USA Today has come up with 6 categories of voters who, it claims will "decide the election". Let's take a look.

1. True believers: 30% of the electorate - they break down 65% Obama, 33% McCain.

2. Fired up & favorable: 14% of the electorate - they break down 65% Obama, 35% McCain.

3. Firmly decided: 12% of the electorate - they break down 48% Obama, 50% McCain.

4. Up for grabs: 18% of the electorate - they break down 36% Obama, 41% McCain.

5. Skeptical & downbeat: 12% of the electorate - they break down 24% Obama, 35% McCain.

6. Decided but dissatisfied: 16% of the electorate - they break down 38% Obama 62% McCain.

I'd say that breakdown pretty well categorizes all elections. You always have a group of true believers on both sides who, essentially are non-critical of their candidate and, at some point relegate principle behind popularity. Neither side is going to steal any votes from these categories. It is an almost visceral love that voters develop for their candidate. These are the folks who are most likely to develop the newest version of "[election winner here] derangement syndrome" should their candidate lose the election. You have seen a version of that with the Clinton supporters who can't find it in themselves to back Obama.

The fired up and favorable and the up for grabs are, essentially, the same group, differentiated by one thing - one group has made up its mind and one hasn't. Both seem to find each candidate appealing, but one group has sipped a bit of the kool-aid and found it satisfying and the other hasn't yet. Interesting that those who have decided go for Obama and those who haven't mostly lean toward McCain.

Those that picked their horse and are sticking with it are mostly done with the election process. They're not going to change their mind and the trick is going to be to get them out to vote. They give a slight nod to McCain.

The last two categories could almost be labeled "Republican voters". Libertarians as well. I say that because those categories best reflect the attitudes I detect among most on the right. How anyone on the right could be a "true believer" or "fired up and favorable" considering the Republican candidate, is beyond me. For the right this is one of those 'hold your nose and pull the lever' elections.

Unfortunately for the right, those are usually low turnout elections as well. So they had better have one heck of a GOTV program on tap for this one.

Anyway, some great fodder for discussion.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

How about-
Of below average intelligence, white, and will NEVER vote for a black man: 15% of the electorate?

My "big city" blue-collar in-laws fall into this category. Polls for this election don’t mean a damn thing... the Bradley effect TRULY IS in play!
Written By: Greybeard
As an aside, I assume these are rounded numbers b/c they add up tp 102%.
Written By: Richard
URL: http://
The Gallup tracking poll shows a statistical dead heat, with Obama underperforming the Democratic advantage in the generic ballot for Congress (which is itself narrowing).

The Obama train stopped in March. Right now this looks like a replay of the ’04 contest, with Obama carrying more baggage than Kerry.

The Obama team knows that the McCain team will paint Obama as a far-Left liberal (which is the least of what Obama is), so they’re trying to move him to the center. But they’ve done that so fast and with so little shame, that Obama now appears to be without principle. In trying to find out what his real principles are, voters need to go to where he has been his entire adult life, and that’s in the off-the-meter far far Left radicalism of that church, which is a political organization more than a religious one.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Obama now appears to be without principle

Whaddaya mean "appears"?!?!?!?!
Written By: Bandit
URL: http://
Whaddaya mean "appears"?!?!?!?!
Good catch.

But I do think he does have principles, but they’re the principles in which he immersed himself for his adult life and lie so far outside the mainstream of American politics that he cannot state them. But they are implicit to who and what he has involved himself in for 20 years.

"Just get the power, Barack." The principles will re-emerge when Barack gets the power.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
As an aside, I assume these are rounded numbers b/c they add up tp 102%.
It must be including the poll results from the rest of the 57 states.
Written By: James O
URL: http://
I don’t see this as a horse race at all -mules would be more appropriate.

For me it’s a "throw the bums out" (and their two political parties if I could)they look with distain at we voters and abuse the system with corruption, power seeking, vote buying as the main tool of governing, and fundamental deceit as their main principle of operation -and like fools we encourage that by re-electing them -for whatever reason -the effect is a continued disaster.
Written By: Don L
URL: http://
I think the Bradley Effect is going to be huge in November, but that’s just a supposition. It’ll be interesting to see if it really happens. I also think the more the electorate sees Obama, and learns what he really stands for, the worse Obama’s poll numbers are going to get. I think his numbers now are at their peak.
Written By: EyeDoc
I also think the more the electorate sees Obama, and learns what he really stands for, the worse Obama’s poll numbers are going to get.
Obama isn’t going to let the vast majority of voters even get a whiff of what he stands for. He did very little of that in the primaries ("Change!" "Hope!), and he’ll do even less of it from now until November.

Telling people what Obama is and what that means is going to be the job of the blogosphere and word of mouth. The media hasn’t the guts to do it. Nor does McCain’s campaign.
Written By: Martin McPhillips

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