90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, August 31, 2012

Statistical Analysis Of Undecided Voters In 2012

President Barack Obama campaigns to win over undecided voters in Windham, N.H. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama campaigns to win over undecided voters in Windham, N.H. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Campaign season is full of statements about values, priorities and other things that are hard to quantify. But what sort of picture of the political climate would you get if you looked at it through the lenses of statistics and mathematical analysis?

Lynn Vavreck, a professor of political science at UCLA and author of the upcoming “The Gamble,”  found that undecided voters aren’t waiting for a major campaign event to make up their minds, that the economy may be helping President Obama more than we think and that Mitt Romney’s candidacy was never in question.


  • Lynn Vavreck, associate professor of political science and communication studies at UCLA

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Ken Pallante

    I find it surprising that folks can actually be undecided – at this point. One would have to live under a rock to have not read about or heard about or have an opinion about this ugly game called politics. But, then again, ours is not a very bright country….

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    There are so many lies, so much spin. It is nearly impossible to know the truth.
    Maybe people are undecided because they are inundated with all of it and have no idea what to believe. Maybe they just don’t have the time or desire to wade through it all looking for the truth.

    Regardless of who gets elected, 2013 will start the same. The House and Senate will be the same worthless institutions they have been for the last 4 years. And I don’t expect that to change in the next 4 years. There is too much “Right” and “Left” and not enough “Center”.

    I’m reminded of a saying: If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with B.S.

  • Yonko Baltic

    I am more an unaffiliated voter than an undecided voter.  I don’t care about the parties at all.  There is no constitutional requirement that a candidate for president belong to any political party.  

    Both of the entrenched parties in the United States have demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice the good of the people and the commonwealth to maintain partisan power.  They have also stacked the deck to ensure no alternative voices are heard.

    Qualifying to be in the presidential debates, the gerrymandering of district lines – why should this be left to the two entrenched parties?  The fiction that there are only two sides to any policy debate is artificially reinforced and the gerrymandering of safe districts squelches the voices of any moderates.  Candidates fight it out in primaries for these safe districts and, since they are playing almost solely to their base, only the extremists prevail.

    I suspect the majority of eligible voters  are similarly unaffiliated (or only loosely affiliated).  If there was less partisan gridlock, polarization, and dominance of our process by extremists,  than the unaffiliated might become the majority of LIKELY voters, too. 

    Since none of this seems likely to change anytime soon, I have decided to watch the candidates of the entrenched parties to see HOW they conduct their campaigns.  In all likelihood, that is what will decide my vote.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 29 Comment

World Championship Tug-Of-War Is ‘A Thing Of Beauty’

This weekend's competition in Wisconsin is a bit more intense than it was in your grade school gym class.

August 29 Comment

Repelling Mosquitoes With A Natural Sticky Patch

The Kite Patch releases odors that block the bug's carbon dioxide receptors, sending them in another direction.

August 28 Comment

Catching Up With The Polyphonic Spree

The choral rock band out of Dallas, Texas, has been thrilling audiences with its live performances for over a decade.

August 28 5 Comments

‘Enormous’ Growth Of Ocean Garbage Patch

The oceanographer who discovered the floating island of trash in 1997 says he's shocked by how much it's grown.