So in a super-tight election year, the campaigns are focusing more on appealing to their base voters than on winning new converts, preaching to a choir their teams hope will sing at full volume by Election Day.
It’s smart politics: Internal and public polls consistently show far fewer undecided voters than four years ago, the result in part of a polarized electorate that has had four years to get to know Obama.
The fire-up-the-base thinking informs all aspects of the campaigns, from Obama’s tax-the-rich rhetoric and decision to tap liberal champion Elizabeth Warren for a plum speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention to Romney’s recent embrace of tea party heroes Ted Cruz and Richard Mourdock and the hawkishness he touted on his trip to Israel last month.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a centrist Democrat in office who has morphed into a happy warrior for the president as co-chairman of his campaign, said there aren’t many undecided voters for Obama or Romney to persuade.
“Whether or not some of those who have made up their minds are willing to be persuaded otherwise, I don’t know,” said Strickland said. “There are relatively few people, percentage wise, that are undecided at this point.”
Gallup’s daily tracking poll shows the number of undecided voters hovering between 6 percent and 8 percent — compared with 11 percent at this point in 2008. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll put the percentage of undecided voters at 3 percent, down from 12 percent in late July 2008. A Pew survey found 5 percent didn’t know who they’d vote for, half of the number at this point in 2008.
Read More: Politico