September 13, 2004
Something like 85% of the supporters of both candidates are absolutely certain whom they'll vote for. The "undecideds," who may not actually be (theoretically, if they ain't in the Bush camp, they're in the Kerry camp), are a tiny minority. The true shift may come from those who are loosely in favor of one or the other candidate.
What are the qualities of these voters? Ignorance. Other trends may be present, but these voters are definitionally ignorant if they cannot distinguish between the two candidates. Again and again and again, we allow our elections to fall in the hands of the ignorant. A fine way to govern, ain't it?
Talk of the Nation is now reviewing the effects of negative ads, which all Americans decry as the scourge of politics, and which political scientists likewise know are the only truly successful ads. They are successful because the ignorant, in the absence of countervailing information, are susceptible to whatever information they receive during the ads on The Apprentice.
Sad but true.