Small number of swing voters to decide presidential election

By Rene Letourneau
08:12 AM
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The 2012 presidential election will be determined by a handful of voters in a fistful of states. Based on indicators such as the economy, gas prices and job growth, “It’s likely to be a close race,” according to Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report.

Speaking at BOMA International’s Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Facilities Conference in Atlanta on Thursday, Rothenberg added that, “The swing voters from 10 swing states are going to pick the next president.”

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Narrowing the race even further, Rothenberg added, “The election is coming down to Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado.”

As opposed to registered Republicans who tend to vote mostly Republican and registered Democrats who behave similarly, swing voters are generally “more casual about politics. It’s ok to say you don’t really care about politics. Those people don’t vote in many mid-term elections, but they tend to vote in presidential elections,” he explained. “The casual voters are not making decisions now. They will make their decision in September and October.”

People who are undecided at this point in the process “may be too busy watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ to pay much attention,” Rothenberg added.

Despite the lack of interest at this early stage by most swing voters, the news media is already in high gear with their political coverage.

“The cable news networks have 24 hours to fill every day and they will fill it, whether with news that is important or with meaningless drivel,” Rothenberg said.

Among the drivel is the relentless reporting of voter polls, which Rothenberg said merely serve as “snapshots of where the race is at any moment. It’s all about the context. But, if we step back and look at the fundamentals, we see half the country thinks the president has done a great job and deserves a second term, while the other half of the country thinks the president is a communist, hates big business and has not done a good job,” he said. “This is a prescription for a close race.”

Those fundamentals strike to the core questions swing voters tend to ask: Is the country failing? Is it time to bring in new management?

“Most elections are pretty simple… Most elections are about continuity or change,” Rothenberg added. “It’s about staying the course or bringing in some new people because the existing people are failing,”

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To that end, Rothenberg suggests rather than listening to pollsters to decide how the election is going, people should pay attention to job growth reports and the economy from now until November.

“Most people will vote on the economy,” Rothenberg said. “Is there improvement and does the president deserve credit?”

Although Rothenberg cannot predict the outcome in November, he is confident that it will be interesting to watch the race unfold.

“This is going to be an expensive, hard-fought race,” Rothenberg added. “If you can’t get excited by this election, you probably can’t get excited about anything.”

For more of our primaries coverage, visit Political Malpractice: Healthcare in the 2012 Election.