Copyright ©2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel. If you go to the real clear politics website and the average of National Polls that include not just John McCain and Barack Obama but also Ralph Nader and Bob Bar. You are still left with this number 6.4 percent. 6.4 percent undecided, don't know, won't say or don't care. There's one thing that we know about these people. To a great extent, the campaign has come down to them which raises the question, who are these people who after a year of primary debates, a winter and spring full of Tuesday night victory speeches, two conventions, dozens of Sunday newsmaker shows, perhaps a billion dollars worth of advertising, four general election debates, plus mailings, robocalls, door-to-door canvassing. Who are these undecided voters? So we've called poster Andrew Kohut who runs the Pew Research Center and asked him to tell us the answer. Andy, who are they?

Mr. ANDREW KOHUT (Poster, Pew Research Center): Well, demographically, we have a nice portrait of them. 63 percent female compared to 47 percent of the public at large that are older than people who've made up their minds, 27 percent are 65 years of age and older, 17 percent of the decideds are 65 years of age and older. They tend to be less well educated. They are more religious, however, than people who have made up their minds.

SIEGEL: So you've told us who the undecideds, like they are. What do they say, how do they describe their lack of decision?

Mr. KOHUT: Well, there are three factors going on. There are conflicted voters, go back and forth between Obama and McCain. There are disengaged voters and many of them are actually non-voters when we look up their records, we find out about half of them don't vote.

SIEGEL: After the fact when you check up on the people you've surveyed?

Mr. KOHUT: Right.

SIEGEL: Well, going back to that real clear politics average. Let's say they have about 6.4 percent still undecided, you would say on average 3.2 percent of them won't vote at all. Of the remaining 3 percent or so, is it possible that they could go 8 to 1 for one candidate or are they more likely to be roughly even?

Mr. KOHUT: It's conceivable and probably typical that the late deciders and the undecideds will go in one direction. They will be swept up with the trend of the moment but our analysis of the undecided vote in this particular election suggess that they're a little more supportive of John McCain than are the people who have already made up their minds. So you might say there will be a trend in John McCain's direction.

SIEGEL: And to recap the characteristics of this group much more likely to be female than male?

Mr. KOHUT: More likely to be female, certainly older than the people who've made up their mind, they're less well educated, and they're more religious.

SIEGEL: Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, thanks a lot.

Mr. KOHUT: You're quite welcome.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: