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(The New York Times)   The media continues to portray the disinterested waffling of "Swing Voters" as a principled key constituency   (nytimes.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, President Obama, swing voters, waffling, South Carolina primary, constituency, State of the Union, battleground states, opinion polls  
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349 clicks; posted to Politics » on 19 Jan 2012 at 11:31 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



28 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2012-01-19 08:49:27 AM  
These people are the reason you still see idiots at the polls handing out "palm cards" to people going in to vote.

If I've made it literally within 10 feet of the front door of the polling place and I'm still vacillating between candidates odds are better than good I'm just going to flip a coin or vote for whoever has a more open stance on teaching pole dancing at Community Colleges rather than look at a card and think "ooh! Dick Shanker says he's got 'integrity!'"
 
2012-01-19 09:14:31 AM  
Buncha attention whores, the lot of them.
 
2012-01-19 10:11:27 AM  
Who could still be a swing voter even now, ~10 months before the election?

If you identify with religious fundamentalist psychopaths who are gleefully raping the country you'll vote for whoever the republican nominee is. If not, you'll vote for Obama no matter how much you think he sucks. Or you'll throw your vote away. There, it's done. Let's just have the election now and get this shiat over with.
 
2012-01-19 11:34:03 AM  
The poll found that 28 percent of the public says the economy is getting better, which is the biggest sense of optimism found in a Times/CBS News poll since last February.

When I want to know whether the economy is getting better, I skip all available tangible metrics and go straight for opinion polls.
 
2012-01-19 11:36:25 AM  
Swing voters are probably just a combination of the ignorant and the stupid. Probably MOSTLY ignorant. For some reason we've decided it's okay in the country to avoid paying attention to important things, but to have strong opinions on them in hindsight.
 
2012-01-19 11:38:42 AM  
I consider them the rats on a sinking ship demographic. "Nope, this doesn't float, nope, this doesn't float, nope.."
 
2012-01-19 11:39:32 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: These people are the reason you still see idiots at the polls handing out "palm cards" to people going in to vote.

If I've made it literally within 10 feet of the front door of the polling place and I'm still vacillating between candidates odds are better than good I'm just going to flip a coin or vote for whoever has a more open stance on teaching pole dancing at Community Colleges rather than look at a card and think "ooh! Dick Shanker says he's got 'integrity!'"


Larry Craig is the undisputed king of the open stance...
 
2012-01-19 11:40:55 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: These people are the reason you still see idiots at the polls handing out "palm cards" to people going in to vote.

If I've made it literally within 10 feet of the front door of the polling place and I'm still vacillating between candidates odds are better than good I'm just going to flip a coin or vote for whoever has a more open stance on teaching pole dancing at Community Colleges rather than look at a card and think "ooh! Dick Shanker says he's got 'integrity!'"


It's been my experience that the folks at the door handing out those things are working for very local candidates who don't get much, if any, media time and I am very much making up my mind on them spur of the moment... or it is literature on some ballot measure. I've never come across anyone at the polls stumping for a national candidate.
 
2012-01-19 11:45:26 AM  

Imperialism: The poll found that 28 percent of the public says the economy is getting better, which is the biggest sense of optimism found in a Times/CBS News poll since last February.

When I want to know whether the economy is getting better, I skip all available tangible metrics and go straight for opinion polls.


While not a good measure of the state of the economy, polls like that do have a direct correlation to approval ratings for the sitting president or at least for 'taking the pulse' of the electorate. Sure, you can expect at least 25% or so to always say the economy sucks just because they are ideologues from the right, but only 28% saying they feel the economy is improving is bad news... for Obama. He'd want that number to be AT LEAST in the 40s by election day if at all possible. Good numbers on initial claims for unemployment today... hopefully the jobs trend will continue.
 
2012-01-19 11:45:36 AM  
ritakeller.com

Very interested in 'swing' voters, I should tell you!
 
2012-01-19 11:45:45 AM  

Mugato: Who could still be a swing voter even now, ~10 months before the election?

If you identify with religious fundamentalist psychopaths who are gleefully raping the country you'll vote for whoever the republican nominee is. If not, you'll vote for Obama no matter how much you think he sucks. Or you'll throw your vote away. There, it's done. Let's just have the election now and get this shiat over with.


Ah, I see the obvious has been covered. Yep, elections tomorrow, another few months won't make any difference.
 
2012-01-19 11:53:27 AM  
FTA:a majority of independent voters have soured on his presidency, disapprove of how he has dealt with the economy and do not have a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected.

Um, nobody has a clear idea what he wants to accomplish in his second term because he hasn't started campaigning yet! It's farking January! I do not want the President in full campaign mode in farking January! I want the President doing President stuff in farking January!
 
2012-01-19 11:55:33 AM  

Imperialism: When I want to know whether the economy is getting better, I skip all available tangible metrics and go straight for opinion polls.


What you want facts? Pfft. Facts can be used to prove anything even remotely true.
 
2012-01-19 11:58:37 AM  

theknuckler_33: Mr. Coffee Nerves: These people are the reason you still see idiots at the polls handing out "palm cards" to people going in to vote.

If I've made it literally within 10 feet of the front door of the polling place and I'm still vacillating between candidates odds are better than good I'm just going to flip a coin or vote for whoever has a more open stance on teaching pole dancing at Community Colleges rather than look at a card and think "ooh! Dick Shanker says he's got 'integrity!'"

It's been my experience that the folks at the door handing out those things are working for very local candidates who don't get much, if any, media time and I am very much making up my mind on them spur of the moment... or it is literature on some ballot measure. I've never come across anyone at the polls stumping for a national candidate.


Here in PA we're so pants-on-head retarded we elect judges. The only time a palm card was useful to me was to find out which Superior Court judge was party-endorsed. But, that same person was also handing out palm cards for U.S. Senate candidates -- the idea that someone would still be on the fence there is a little scary.
 
2012-01-19 12:04:58 PM  

LasersHurt: Swing voters are probably just a combination of the ignorant and the stupid. Probably MOSTLY ignorant. For some reason we've decided it's okay in the country to avoid paying attention to important things, but to have strong opinions on them in hindsight.


It's what is so frustrating about people who claim their ideological opponents are completely ignorant when it comes to issues. While there are some issues of misinformation and confirmation bias with them, the fact remains that partisans on both sides are generally the most knowledgeable people on political matters, and when you survey them on pure facts the more hardline they are the better they do. It makes sense on some level: people who hold strong opinions on politics consume more information about politics.

It is very hard to be excited about politics and divorce yourself from interest in certain policies. Chances are if you don't know who you favor to a reasonable degree it is because you just don't care to pay attention.
 
2012-01-19 12:06:37 PM  
"And why is that good? Why are we eager...Why are we encouraging a group of people who are so howl-at-the-moon, lazy-ass stupid that they can't bring themselves to raise their hands? Why is it important that they be brought into the process?"
Josh Lyman
 
2012-01-19 12:08:13 PM  
I'm a swing voter - I'll either vote for the democrats to play it safe or for a true left candidate that is remotely viable as a catalyst for real reforms.

People on the fence about Fartbongo Vs. (presumably) Mittens are dumb, however. I say this because, despite Fartbongo being rather too friendly with corporate interests for my taste, I would much rather have a typically corrupt Democrat in office than a typically religiously nutty Republican who wants to start yet another war against the heathens.
 
2012-01-19 12:08:24 PM  
Swing voters: the morons who keep forgetting that a red stovetop is dangerous and should not be touched.
 
2012-01-19 12:15:27 PM  

DjangoStonereaver: [ritakeller.com image 400x300]

Very interested in 'swing' voters, I should tell you!


Yeah, I couldn't think of the perfect 'swing' joke. You win this round...
 
2012-01-19 12:16:57 PM  

gadian: Ah, I see the obvious has been covered. Yep, elections tomorrow, another few months won't make any difference.


Not now that Huntsman dropped out. I wouldn't vote for any of the other Repubs if they arranged for me to have free lap dances for life and all the 'Happy Endings' massages I could ever want, all from the performer of my choice.
 
2012-01-19 12:18:23 PM  
I am currently enroute to finishing my Master's in Political Science, and one of the most pertinent ongoing debates among political scientists is the question of political polarization. There are about a billion theories about whether it's happening, and if it is, what the nature of that polarization is. One group of theorists are saying that there is no political polarization, and in fact, the opposite is true: there is a growing group of people in the middle without strong ties to either party's ideology. While many of them herald this idea as a positive, the fact of the matter is that political scientists have found basically what most of you in the thread (and the article) said.

My personal favorite theory about it is that there is increased polarization, but not to the left and the right, but between the engaged and the disengaged. There's a reason the Republicans are focusing on mobilizing their base all the time - it's because the people in the "middle" (in reality, people who do not, in fact, actually give a shiat about politics) are harder to persuade to vote, much less vote a particular way. The problem with their strategy, however, is that the "middle" does get up and vote if they feel like they're threatened or if they connect with one of the candidates, particularly in a Presidential election. And the fact of the matter in this election is that both of those tendencies are going to get wound up again. Whoever the GOP spits out of this clusterfark of a primary is going to seem threatening compared with the nonaggressive moderation of President Obama, and the latter has before done quite an impressive job of appealing to a broad swath of (often politically uninterested) voters.

Long story short, I believe we're going to look at a beatdown that is not 1984-like; it's more likely to look like 1996 as Obama sweeps into reelection.
 
2012-01-19 12:24:49 PM  

sammyk: FTA:a majority of independent voters have soured on his presidency, disapprove of how he has dealt with the economy and do not have a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected.

Um, nobody has a clear idea what he wants to accomplish in his second term because he hasn't started campaigning yet! It's farking January! I do not want the President in full campaign mode in farking January! I want the President doing President stuff in farking January!


Yeah, exactly...

Economy? No, he hasn't "fixed" it, but how could you put the WTC buildings back together with a package of Popsicle sticks and a bottle of Elmer's glue? This takes time, and the economy IS showing signs of improvement, companies are starting to hire again, but it goes in fits and stops, this isn't a quick-fix solution, first you have to stop the downward slide, then you have to get things to level out before you can climb up again.

As for what he wants to accomplish in his second term, it's obvious, he wants to accomplish all the stuff from the first that he started, but didn't finish. 4 years is a tiny window on some issues.

Obama is far from perfect in my book, and I'm really disappointed in the stuff he signed that's basically an extension of the Patriot Act, but that Republicans don't have anyone to offer that isn't in sane, and A-Hole, or both.

The Obstructionist Party is just as complicit as Obama in the not-getting-things-done scenario, but everyone seems to forget this fact. God I can't wait to truly be an independent again, but it's hard to do when the Right is nothing but lunatics.
 
2012-01-19 12:33:38 PM  
Amazingly, the club members still haven't figured it out - or pretend not to. Half of Americans either don't care or have concluded it's a rigged game and don't vote at all. Of the other 50% who do vote, 25% are partisan Democrats, 25% are partisan Republicans, and 50% still care enough to vote but think the two parties are self-serving leeches and simply vote against whichever party is in power as a protest.

IOW, only about 12.5% of Americans are loyal Democrats, and 12.5% loyal Republicans. Everyone else thinks the two parties suck. Somehow, Republicans and Democrats think their parties are legitimate and routinely claim "mandates" every time the music stops in their tiresome game of musical chairs. But the truth is that our political establishment, such as it is, is completely self-serving and has lost the confidence of 75% of Americans - and does little or nothing for them.

This is the only newsworthy fact in American politics, but it is rarely, if ever, discussed by our lapdog 4th Estate, and most certainly not by Democrats or Republicans.
 
2012-01-19 12:51:24 PM  

canyoneer: IOW, only about 12.5% of Americans are loyal Democrats, and 12.5% loyal Republicans. Everyone else thinks the two parties suck. Somehow, Republicans and Democrats think their parties are legitimate and routinely claim "mandates" every time the music stops in their tiresome game of musical chairs. But the truth is that our political establishment, such as it is, is completely self-serving and has lost the confidence of 75% of Americans - and does little or nothing for them.

This is the only newsworthy fact in American politics, but it is rarely, if ever, discussed by our lapdog 4th Estate, and most certainly not by Democrats or Republicans.


That's not true - those figures are usually in the election post-mortem. A wonkish post-mortem. Usually from a writer aligned with the "losing" side. I remember a few articles from 2004 talking about how Kerry supposedly motivated young people (18-30) to go vote, but then they voted in the same anemic percentages they always do, making it clear that more motivated youth could have won him the election. In 2008, they noticed that turnout among the 18-30 crowd (and other oft-underrepresented groups) doubled or better, hurting McCain's "Medicare and Pancakes" bloc and costing him the election (well, that and probably 10-15% of voters turned off by the Thrilla from Wasilla, but shhhhhh).

Ineffective and months too late, not ignored completely.

// though I also remembered seeing lots of articles in 2008 projecting youth turnout to be that much higher, I think they were ignored because some of those same indicators failed to pan out in 2008 (youth turnout rose significantly)
 
2012-01-19 01:47:48 PM  

LasersHurt: Swing voters are probably just a combination of the ignorant and the stupid.


That's a bit harsh. One could also argue that anyone who instantly picks a candidate and sticks to them is basically making a decision regardless of, you know, facts and stuff as opposed to rhetoric.

IMO any sane Republican would be a swing voter now. They don't want Obama because they want to vote for their party but nearly all their party choices are batshiat crazy and/or trying to play them like a fiddle.

I lean Democratic but in the 2008 race I was still considering the merits of both candidates (and would be considered a swing voter) up until the time that McCain picked Palin and it became obvious that it was only a gimmick and more importantly he had not vetted her. Palin was awful but that was actually secondary to the fact that his move was totally irresponsible and not fitting of the POTUS who is also the commander of half the world's armed forces. That was huge red flag and upon further inspection it became clear that McCain 2008 was not the same man as McCain 2000. McCain was just no longer an option.

The biggest problem we have with undecided voters is that they are the only voting demographic that matters and that's only when they are in states that have an otherwise fairly even split of Dem and Repub and enough electoral votes to be significant. Otherwise they just don't have enough numbers to bother courting and are ignored just like everyone else.

Thank you Electoral College. Thank you.

/and by "thank" I mean a word that starts with F.
 
2012-01-19 02:10:05 PM  

Zombalupagus: LasersHurt: Swing voters are probably just a combination of the ignorant and the stupid.

That's a bit harsh. One could also argue that anyone who instantly picks a candidate and sticks to them is basically making a decision regardless of, you know, facts and stuff as opposed to rhetoric.


Well, it's not black and white. There's middle ground between the uninformed and partisan hacks. I guess in my mind, given the choices presented right now, you'd have to be a total fool to say "well i just can't say!" The choices are papercut versus like 5 kinds of dismemberment - it seems like it should be easy.

Now your point about conservative voters who can't condone any candidates of theirs, but also can't choose Obama is an interesting one. That's a battle between ideology and practicality, and that can effect even the informed.
 
2012-01-19 09:25:57 PM  

Zombalupagus: Thank you Electoral College. Thank you.

/and by "thank" I mean a word that starts with F.


This!
I live in Kansas. My vote means nothing. Our electoral votes will go to whoever is the Republican candidate is.

Now, if we had a purely popular vote, my vote would matter as much as somebody in any other state.

But they say we MUST have the electoral college, otherwise candidates would only campaign in a few states. As opposed to the way they only campaign in a few states now (IA, NH, SC, FL...)
 
2012-01-19 10:08:25 PM  

Aquapope: But they say we MUST have the electoral college, otherwise candidates would only campaign in a few states. As opposed to the way they only campaign in a few states now (IA, NH, SC, FL...)


The electoral college is bullshiat.
 
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