I'm Peter. And I'm an undecided voter.
Sure, it was fun for awhile. Everyone wanted to talk to me, to court me. It was one big political party, and I was the guest of honor.
You want to be interviewed by CNN? Sorry, youre decided. They prefer people like me.
Want to get into that presidential debate? No room at the inn for the cocksure.
Youd love to get your hands on the dial during the debate and show how each syllable, each eyebrow raise, each zinger contributed to your final choice, right? Be like me. Undecided.
But now, with the final debate finally over and the sprint to Election Day underway, the tide has turned. Among the cool people, we undecided voters have become political pariahs.
Forget Undecided Voters: Theyre Idiots was the headline in the Huffington Post. It was labeled satire, but thats what they always say when they say what they mean but dont want the nasty phone calls.
Chris Matthews called us boneheads and said if we havent made up our minds by now, we shouldnt vote at all. Of course thats easy for him to say. He was probably born decided. You cant be a cable yakker if you have any self-doubt. Always advance, never retreat.
In his New York Times column headlined Idiots Delight (am I starting to see a pattern here?), Timothy Egan ended with this message to undecideds: we dont like you. Not because you cant make up your mind, but because you wont.
Can it get worse? Well, yes.
I dont mean to be insulting, began Jeremy Schro on the Daily Kos, before asking of undecided voters, Are they stupid?
Good thing he didnt mean to be insulting.
One day were highly desirable. Were the deciders. The next were derideable. Were the ditherers.
I should have known the party would end. It always does and Im always left feeling awful, worthless you know, stupid. Like four years ago. And eight years ago. One moment Im on top of the world and the next, Im in the gutter.
Clearly, I have a problem. I admit it now, I cant control my addiction to the attention. And I need help from a power greater than myself. Thats right Wolf Blitzer.
I wonder, though, how many undecideds are really decided and have decided not to answer questions from pollsters. I dont tell strangers on the phone who Im voting for. Its hard to tell the difference between legitimate pollsters and push pollsters and partisan persuaders who try to sound like pollsters. (Though, whenever Im asked questions like: Would you be more inclined or less inclined to vote for a candidate who sacrifices goats in the backyard as part of a cult that worships Conan OBrien? I always answer More inclined. Duh.)
I even tell robocallers Im undecided just to stay in practice.
Seattle pollster Stuart Elway tells me that he cant tell whether undecided voters are truly undecided or just reluctant to answer. But he also thinks those who remain undecided this late in the cycle likely wont vote for that office. And the rare respondent who is undecided across the board likely wont vote at all.
Which is, of course, exactly what the decideds want.
No wait, what the decideds really want is for everyone to agree with them. They probably think those who disagree are stupid as well but its considered tacky to say that out loud at least in mixed company. So they reserve their wrath for the undecided voter who may in the end not be a voter at all.
Im happy for the decideds. Being certain leaves them time to gather with the like-minded and tsk-tsk those who arent as enlightened.
But given the recent volatility in the polls, I wonder if theres a category of voter they might have even more contempt for you know, those who dare change their mind.