Alan Abramowitz recently published an excellent analysis of “swing voters” and their potential impact on the upcoming election. The key points:
- Despite popular conceptions to the contrary, swing voters in swing states are rare: less than 10% of voters.
- These swing voters are disproportionately white, female, and unenthusiastic toward Obama.
- Demographically, these same voters are historically less likely to vote.
- In contrast, currently unregistered voters have more favorable opinions toward Obama.
Despite the closeness of the presidential race, the Obama and Romney campaigns find themselves in very different strategic situations in the battleground states. For the Romney campaign, a strategy focused on persuading and mobilizing registered but undecided voters looks promising given the negative views of President Obama held by most swing voters. In contrast, for the Obama campaign, a strategy focused on mobilizing supporters who are not currently registered seems to hold more promise than one emphasizing persuasion of undecided voters.