Swing Voters Swing Because They're Uninformed

Such voters are all-too-easily swayed by political rhetoric.

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One of my hobbyhorses is to track the movements of the Oscillating Low-Information Voter .

He is not a bad person. He may be hard-working and incredibly brilliant. He may be rich or poor or, more likely, somewhere in between. He may, in fact, be a she.

What Oscillating Low-Information Voters have in common is they pay very little attention to politics. Again, this does not imply stupidity—only ignorance. The Low-Information Voter is thus a different animal than the rational non-voter , who may keep up with the news but concludes his vote is statistically meaningless.

For whatever reason, the Low-Information Voter is simply uninformed.

His ideological preferences are transactional, and thus fluid: “What have the guys I just put in charge done for me lately?”

So what is this highly-prized, “independent” bloc of voters up to now?

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals exactly what I always expect. The Oscillating Low-Information Voter is oscillating! Polling analyst Gary Langer explains:

The drop in trust to handle the economy has occurred chiefly among independents, now drawing away from the GOP after rallying to its side. As recently as January, 42 percent of independents preferred the Republicans in Congress over Obama to handle the economy. Today just 29 percent say the same, and there’s been a rise in the number who volunteer that they don’t trust either side.

The “bottom line,” according to online political tipsheet The Note, is that “voters want results, not rhetoric.”

That would be the charitable way of putting it.

I think it’s more accurate to say that such voters are all-too-easily swayed by political rhetoric.

This is precisely the quality that makes “swing voters” swingable.