With Less Than 72 Hours To Go, Some Voters Still Haven't Made Up Their Minds

Illustration for article titled With Less Than 72 Hours To Go, Some Voters Still Haven't Made Up Their Minds

In less than three days, Americans will be electing a new president. For many of us, our voting booth decision was made long ago, and some of us have already sent in our ballots, certain of the choice we have made. But for some Americans, there is still, still, a lingering sense of doubt when it comes to their vote. It is easy to label undecided voters as ignorant or clueless; I admit to being frustrated with people who haven't made up their minds at this point, so far into the election, but it appears that there are a few categories of undecided voters, degrees of uncertainty, pride, and complete obliviousness that Mark Leibovich at The New York Times tries to make sense of by asking the question that many of us ask of undecided voters at this point: "What is up with these people?"Leibovich takes a pretty fascinating look at the mind of the undecided voter, traveling around to speak with several people who are still struggling to make up their minds. His first stop takes him to a couple named Doug and Shelley Finke of Kentucky, who are both a bit embarrassed about their undecided status. "“I do not like being an ‘undecided,’" Doug Finke, 66, tells the Times, “Last time at this point, I definitely was decided. Not this time. I find it unnerving.” Finke admits that he's more drawn to McCain's economic policies but feels more in line with Obama's social policies. He also admits to having doubts about Sarah Palin's competency. You get the sense that in some way, this type of indecision actually makes sense. Finke is drawn to one candidate's stances on one thing, and the other candidate's stances on the other; he sees benefits and drawbacks to both. I actually felt a sympathy for Doug Finke, as he does come across as embarrassed about the whole thing, and more importantly, he shows that he's not a one-issue voter, which means that despite the disdain for undecided voters and the feeling that they just aren't paying attention, Finke actually is informed and aware of both candidate's policies, but just can't decide which ones he's willing to give up and which ones he's willing to embrace. His wife, Shelley, on the other hand, isn't as sympathetic: she voted for Bush twice and initially wasn't a big Obama fan due to "the whole Hollywood thing," as she puts it, but has since found herself liking Obama more and McCain less as the election has gone on. “I’d say I’m leaning towards McCain,” Shelley Finke says, “For as awful as things are with this Republican administration, there’s something about the whole conservative thing that appeals to me. But maybe I’ll vote for Obama. How many days are left?” Yikes. Leibovich also goes on to speak with a man who was anti-Obama after Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Claiming that he's "disgusted with both sides," Vasilios Gerovasiliou, 64, first threatens to "flip a coin" in the voting booth, but then admits that he'll probably vote for the Democratic ticket, due to Joe Biden's inclusion. Perhaps the strangest interview Leibovich gets is with 76-year-old Laura Wolpo of Florida, who seems to just hate everybody. She takes shots at Sarah Palin: "Some of what she says is very stupid," Michelle Obama: "Someone should teach her how to dress," and claims she has "great misgivings" about Obama. She's warmer to McCain, noting that she has "a great deal of respect for him," but is hesitant to vote for McCain, due to the fact that she is pro-choice, and McCain is not. Still, she says there's a 60% chance she'll support McCain in the end. But perhaps most telling, Wolpo notes that her son has had a stroke, and that his health is really the most important thing on her mind. “This other thing is just an election,” she said. So maybe that's it: for some Americans, the election is just "this other thing," this background noise, this decision that they believe is not as important as the other worries and concerns in their lives. And this is where I have little sympathy for the undecideds: because the election isn't "this other thing", it is something bigger and more important, something that will affect all of us, even your son's health care, Ms. Wolpo. Your vote may not matter to you, but it matters to the rest of us, the ones who share this country with you, who will go into the voting booth on Tuesday with a clear mind and a certain heart, and the hope that the rest of our fellow citizens will care enough to do the same. The Undecided: Sheepish, Proud, Or Set To Flip Coin [NYTimes]



Anyone who is still undecided is too stupid to vote.