October 30th, 2008
10:07 PM ET

Can undecideds swing the vote?

Bill Schneider
Senior Political Analyst

Undecided voters are almost all whites. Very few African-American voters are undecided. White voters favor McCain. So it would not be surprising to see more undecided voters going for McCain than for Obama as they make up their minds. That will tighten the race up a bit. But are there enough undecided voters left for McCain to overtake Obama? Don’t think so.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Gary in Wyoming

    p.s. all of which shows McCain's total lack of good judgement, and unreadiness for command or as being "tested" which he likes to brag about. Further, he is often overflowing with bile, anger and also tons of out-right lies and or exaggerations thrown at a steady, caution taking, well tempered, well organized, well reasoned, open minded and hopeful and positive person named Obama... thus McCain's actions and dirty tricks over the last couple of months are an overall disgrace and shame on his part since at one time he had some past honor as a navy man which is now gone.

    October 31, 2008 at 11:12 am |
  2. Rashelle

    Wow. Interesting. Swing Vote?

    Rashelle Emblen. Elizabethtown, Ky

    October 31, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  3. Vegas


    Nice crutch... must be great to live a life with excuses after excuse.

    Gore lost close late, Kerry lost close late... but if Obama does it's racism... that's the stupidest things I've ever heard. He is the farthest left candidate to ever run yet you use his skin color as an excuse if he loses... pathetic...

    October 31, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  4. Susan

    How come no one is asking, what percentage of undecideds actually vote, for if they are still undecided this late in the game, either they aren't paying attention, have no opinions of their own and/or no motivation to read/listen/learn/decide and take a stand, and probably are equally unmotivated to go out and vote! Its all distraction if you ask me!

    October 31, 2008 at 10:39 am |
  5. Gary in Wyoming

    How could anyone be undecided about Palin, who McCain choose as his possible back-up president? To me she has shown her power hungry, tell any lie, twist any words ugly self, while also displaying her poisoned soul for all to see who can see regardless of her double speak about pro-life for what she is regardless of any nice clothes or make-up that she might wear. (with clothes being mostly a non-issue except that – 150k could be better used by most people) Btw. I forgot to mention her folksy B.S. does not cut it and that Hank Williams Jr. is a drunken, hell raising bad boy jerk that doesn't match her sickening goodie two shoes charade.

    October 31, 2008 at 10:39 am |
  6. ken

    A vote for Senator Obama is a vote for censorship Ask the reporters who just got kicked off the Obama campaign plane. If I were an undecided, that would swing my vote. Racism sure has a lot of new synonyms because of this campaign...If your against Obama, you are racist? I hardly think so.

    October 31, 2008 at 10:17 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Undecided voters most likely have more education than McCain or Palin. McCain graduated 5th from the bottom of his class and it took Palin 6 years and 5 colleges to get a degree in journalism and Todd Palin didn't finish high school. Neither have been ambitious enough to further their education. Is that the reason you want to give your children for voting for McCain and Palin.

    October 31, 2008 at 9:43 am |
  8. sharon from Indy

    The passion surrounding this election is about wanting something very different in Washington. If anything, voting for Obama is a protest vote against the current establishment both in Washington and on Wall Street. To many, voting is the only way we still a chance of getting our voice heard; many are screaming from inside.

    October 31, 2008 at 9:27 am |
  9. David

    I am a 28 year business owner of one of the fastest growing company’s in CT. For the last year or so I have been all for Obama as I felt that he was intelligent, not persuaded by the private sector, and an out of the box thinker. However, as of the last few weeks I have realized that the media has really driven this election in his favor and I am outraged about how much money he has gotten through the private sector. In addition I realized that I work 12-18 hour days plus weekends in a effort to become successful and the people around me that are lazy and unmotivated will benefit from it. Don't get me wrong I am all for helping the needy, but who is needy and not just lazy? My education wasn't stellar, in fact I barely attended high school. But I have enough self confidence and drive to try, and not stand on the corner begging for change or waitering for cash tips as I did in high school. So now I'm stuck in a rut because I would vote for McCain had he not chosen Palin for VP. In my opinion that was a clear indicator that his decision making skills are not that of a President. On the other hand Obama has executed a perfect campaign but wants to give away my hard earned dollars. I wish Obama could share the ticket with McCain and Palin would become an anchor on a local TV station in Alaska. Seriously confused, David.

    October 31, 2008 at 9:24 am |
  10. Harry

    Can never underestimate the race factor here. If enough people show up in the poll, Orama should win.

    October 31, 2008 at 8:28 am |
  11. S.HAYES

    It is my opinion that an undecided voter is some one who is divided
    only by their predjudice. In Tuesday's election the youth will make the difference they are colored blind and are not born with the racist genes of past american generations.If we could only learn from our children the power of freinship and trust, this country would once again be the greatesst country in the world. Be smart.Vote with your head a not your heart.

    October 31, 2008 at 8:22 am |
  12. pippa

    I absolutely agree with Bill. There are not enough undecideds'
    to swing McCains way. White and racist though they may be.

    Obama has reportedly already approached Senator Rahm Emanuel
    to be his 'Chief Of Staff.'

    That says it all.

    October 31, 2008 at 7:33 am |
  13. Mike, Lake Worth, FL.

    Undecided, what are they waitng for?

    October 31, 2008 at 7:14 am |
  14. DannyCali

    I think most of the undecided white voter their want to vote for Obama but their don't want black to be President that's why their said they undecide. Remember we are the same people we are Americans vote for President is not vote for White or Black we vote for Americans. So, we need to vote for the one have good IDEA better IDEA and new IDEA going to lead this country to the futrue is not like John McCain and Sarah Palin keep sing same old song every day about the LAZY JOE NO SHOW.

    October 31, 2008 at 6:12 am |
  15. David R.

    I think the undecided folks really wish that McCain was somebody worth voting for, but that he looks abysmally inferior in poise, integrity , judgement and in intelligence in comparison to Obama. However, something in those undecided people is apprehensive about Obama- possibly some are scared because he is black (that's something new, right?), others because he has a funny name, others because he might be lying about being a Christian, others because they don't trust Democrats, others because they really believe in that "trickle down theory", and all others out of miscellaneous fear.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:59 am |
  16. Yasin

    Whatever the polls, unfortunately McCain will win because the Americans are not ready and open yet to make a Black president.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:50 am |
  17. Joy

    The new democrats that have registered and voted in record numbers are primarily black. Obama has and continues to bring racism to a new level. As he said when he won the nomination from Hillary, "We have waited for years for this moment." We? Who would We be? Tonight he mentioned 'we are going to make history'! We? Who is We...

    October 31, 2008 at 2:57 am |
  18. Lorrilee

    I think that it is about time to realise that is not about the colour of their skin, but about the poor families that cannot afford food, healthcare ... If they cannot vote for Obama cause he is black, that means they are avoiding the blacks where they are?! ...Is silly don't you think so?!

    October 31, 2008 at 2:51 am |
  19. Carolyn Bailey

    I agree with Ange, its all based on race. They are not really undecided. But when they go into that booth they will certainly touch the screen for McCain. I guess that's being still undecided. All I can say is good luck to you and your prejudices, because you will answer to God.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:48 am |
  20. Joy

    ACORN and Obama's other pet racist groups have already done their damage and there cannot be a fair election. He was just on begging all the people who not long ago were not even allowed to vote to work hard, call your friends. The new democrats that have registered and voted in record numbers are primarily black. Obama has and continues to bring racism to a new level. As he said when he won the nomination from Hillary, "We have waited for years for this moment." We? Who would We be? Tonight he mentioned 'we are going to make history'! We? Who is We...

    October 31, 2008 at 2:48 am |
  21. Kelly

    Sigh....I'm so sick of the race card being dealt as a club to hit anyone not supporting Obama. In a democracy citizens are free to vote their choices without fear of intimidation or insults. This former Hillary supporter will vote for Obama because our nation can't survive twelve straight years of Republican rule. No political party should have a run like that because it corrodes our democracy and financial stability to it’s' foundation; which is exactly what the last eight years under the Bush White House has done.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:47 am |
  22. Beth

    I'm going to try my best. I don't know who he really is. I just know how he campaigns and I don't trust him. I just can't pop that vote for Obama.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:24 am |
  23. William

    If 50% are for obama and 43% are for mccain 7% undecided.. how is the 7% going to decide the election. It becomes a stalemate. In order to win, someone must be on top. and in order for mccain to win he needs to take all 7% undecided voter and turn some of obamas supporters. So i would say No they will not swing the election. My estimate is based on the polls that CNN has shown.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:06 am |
  24. Yvonne, Phoenix, AZ

    These folks are not undecided. Get real, it is just a code word for not having the guts to say out loud what you already know. They would rather vote for a man they know in their knower represents a party of the last century ( McCain) than seek to bring this great country back to greatness!! In case they have noticed.... American demographics has change and this election is proof positive.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  25. Jana Marcelino

    I don’t think undecided will swing the vote to John McCain , if anything they will swing more votes for Barack Obama. I live in Arizona and I have yet to see a car with a John McCain sticker, but I have seen several cars with Barack Obama stickers. I have also seen several white voters holding posters on the side of the rode supporting Barack Obama. Most of my friends that live in Arizona that were undecided voters have already made up their minds and they are voting for Barack Obama they are not going to vote for John McCain no one wants 4 years of the same thing Bush. If any surprise people are going to see is that Barack Obama will also win Arizona which was suppose to be an easy win for John McCain . Even Arizona wants change, we want someone new not the same old Bush ideas that John McCain will keep around.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  26. Raen

    I don't really understand how anyone can be undecided with only 4 days left, they may just be indifferent and not really like either canidate.

    Also, learn how to spell. Then, stop trying to make this about race. I am not voting for Obama because he believes he has the right to take money from one part of our society and give it to someone else; he is pro abortion, whereas I am strictly pro life; he associates with questionable people to say the least; and he would not even be able to receive security clearance to work for the FBI. There, now, do your homework, he can't work for the FBI, but he can be our president?! I am not a racist because I don’t vote for him.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  27. ibuaw

    They might be wasted votes going to the libertarian party Independent,
    Unitarian or a writein. I'm not surprised nobody pays attention to them
    but that could be a factor.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:12 am |
  28. James

    Ange, I'm undecided and I'm Hispanic

    Not everything has to be based around the context of race, you should also remember that Obama is also half white.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  29. Chris-Philippines

    Well at this point some undecided voters will make the margin tighter but I do not think it will make a significant difference for McCain to overtake Obama. There has been so many doubts about McCain, especially about his VP choice. The way he has ran his campaign has made many Republicans run for cover. The voters are really ready to get this election over. Everyone please vote on American issues not on the Party. We are choosing a President and Vice-President not just Obama or McCain.

    October 31, 2008 at 1:02 am |
  30. Jennifer

    I've never quite understood the Undecided group.

    Is it because they are torn about issues close to their hearts – and that neither candidates are truly representing them? But honestly, the issues cannot be any more clearer, and the candidates are so far apart in almost every issue that, it would be a cinch to decide.

    Is it because they aren't informed enough to make a decision? in which case, do some research, turn on the TV, tune into the radio, get online and search away!

    If you are STILL undecided at this point, perhaps they don't really care which way the direction would go. Wait, those would be the ones SITTING out on voting.

    Voting is a privilege and a right fought hard for, especially women and blacks. Everyone in America should treat it as such - please be *informed* on the issues and vote!

    October 31, 2008 at 12:50 am |
  31. David

    Yes, everyone is waiting to see how this undecided percentage is going to drop. I think it is going to basically be a 50/50 split for Obama and McCain on the undecided, which means Obama wins the election if you work these numbers through state by state. Even if you project the undecided 2-1 or 3-1 to McCain on the undecided, Obama still wins. I think the polls would have tightened by now if McCain was really getting a lot of traction. Statistically, state by state, the polls are not really tightening outside of the margin of error.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:44 am |
  32. Greg Griffin

    I don't think that these undecided voters are undecided that the country is in turmoil. yYou have to decided what you want. A man that wants to continue the right wing politics of a free market while it continues to drain the economy, or a man that will stop all the shenanagans and give Americans what they want, 4 or 8 years of planning our future, and our children's future. It's time to make the call.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:33 am |
  33. Gus

    I remember Bush vs Kerry. Terror alerts almost everyday. Bush won. Now we have no terror alerts. Bush must not like McCain.

    PS...Sure hope all these Poll of Polls are somewhat accurate. I'd hate to see CNN Magic Board get tossed b/c it was wrong.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  34. Jaime Mesa, AZ

    I think the undecided can go either way. While some White voters may be prejudiced enough to be afraid to vote for Obama, I think that there is also a lot of White, Conservative voters would not admit they are NOT voting for McCain. In the last few days in Arizona, (it is not cool to be a liberal Democrat), but I have heard lots more positive talk about Obama. I think the turnout will really determine the election. I do not think the number of voters can be predicted, especially the young voters. If early voting is any indication, I bet there will be an even greater margin FOR Obama, not McCain. I think there are many more voters excited to vote for Obama and less voting against him due to fear or predjudice.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:22 am |
  35. Abbie

    I have to agree with Ange.
    The only reason McCain has a chance with "undecided" voters is because he's white. I've grown up in Missouri and one thing I've noticed is how backwards parts of the state still are. I've heard people say they won't vote for Obama because he's black. A friend made an excellent point, the only reason Obama isn't winning Missouri by a landslide is because he's half black.
    It's 2008 and it's time to move on from the old day beliefs that everyone isn't equal. Obama has a plan for this country and McCain will be just another 4 years.
    If your undecided at this point either decide soon or don't vote at all because if you can't agree with either on ANY issues than you won't help anyone.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  36. DeLancey Andrews

    What i find alarming, is that in the year 2008 and as difficult times we face, no matter who is elected to run this country,We cannot come together as a nation.NOt joe who's not a plumber, has said several times he will vote for a real American.So I ask,What is a real American?Aswell John McCain has said nothing about this statement ,like he did when the spectator posed the question about terrorism and Barak Obama.
    I would like too know what makes John McCain a "REAL AMERICAN? And more important I would'nt have a noted LIAR beside me during my Campaign.No wonder he's losing.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:04 am |
  37. Tony

    If people are undecided this far into the race then thier first choice will be who they vote for on election day. There is nothing new that any candidate will bring to the table in these last 4 days to sway their vote. If the majority of undecided is the white vote their only issue is voting for an African American...that's it!

    October 30, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  38. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Honestly, undecided folks should stay home. The campaigns have been at it for 2 years........ if you do not know whom to vote for then you may as well stay home.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  39. chris

    so everyone who is undecided and votes for mccain is a racist..... oh that right only white people. what about the fact that 99 percent of african americans vote for obama i guess thats racist right

    October 30, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  40. Jamal

    Good Evening,

    I believe undecideds will swing the vote in Obama's favor. McCain is just not saying what the average american needs to hear. CHANGE! I make 36,000 a year, i have a mortgage, two cars and an assortment of other bills. I have family in the military and over the last eight years they've been overseas for 5 of them. We want relief and McCains not saying that. I watched him earlier today and noticed he was reading from a script! How plugged in is he! There is no passion when he speaks and nothing that he is says hits home with me. There is nothing he says that I personally believe he has a personal interest in, that pertains to me and my family. I believe Obama will swing those voters because he was able to do something previous candidates could not; get people involved!

    October 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  41. Don

    The whites ultimately are the ones who are going to decide how this election ends, because everyone else has already decided who they think the next president should be.

    I also think that McCain/Palin are hoping, at least in part, that racial rejection of Obama by some voters(including the undecided) will aid them in eking out a victory over Obama. They would never indicate this publically, but, I'm sure they're discussing this behind the scenes.

    And, finally, if McCain does win the election I still think the country will experience a great racial divide, because the election would be viewed largely(especially by minorities) as having been conducted unfairly.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  42. Mark V

    Just a thought. If McCain wins, the first lady will have the most "Executive Experience" in the White House. Maybe she would have made a better VP pick.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  43. Karin

    I think Obama has already won this election. The undecided voters will be split evenly and McCain will not be able to catch up. McCain showed poor judgment on choosing Ms. Palin (who should never again be in politic's as she is a divider not a uniter and a liar). Mc Cain showed poor judgment on his negative hateful ads. The McCain/Palin Mavericks of Mean.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  44. Cy

    The only reason that Obama can lose this election is if race discrimination is involved.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  45. Rob

    That what makes the political proscess so interesting you don't have to make up your mind until you vote. It is fun watching the pollsters and the pundits guess.

    October 30, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  46. valoree-Dominican Republic

    Please undecided help the United States image around the world and vote for Obama. It will make the US a safer country.

    October 30, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  47. Barb

    I have been a devoted CNN viewer and an Anderson Cooper fan for a long time, but I have to say that your comments about Sarah Palin have been demeaning and biased against women,working class families, and anyone who is trying to see a fair depiction of issues and candidates involved in the current Presidential campaign. I am apppaled that a person of your stature would stoop to those comments about a person who is truly "middle class" and dealing with issues that most Americans are dealing with now. As a registered Democrat who has never voted Republican, I may cast a protest vote this election. My family is is as diverse as perhaps the United nations, but we all agree that maybe, you and your colleages have been somewhat biased in your treatment of Ms. Palin. Why?

    October 30, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  48. R.M.-Fl.

    As me being a Florida resident, I feel the tensity of this this election first hand. As Florida being a swing state, it is exciting to see how this historical election will turn out. I am an Obama supporter, but, whoever wins this election, I believe they will bring our country back to the way it should be. Smooth and Steady!

    October 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  49. Alex (Aliso Viejo, Ca)

    Unless it is a guaranteed 100% for undecided voters to break for McCain, most probably it might. However, some undecided voters don't even materialize as an actual vote. Some undecided voters might even considering voting for Nader and Barr versus McCain alone. Are they really that undecided on the first place?

    October 30, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  50. Ange

    AT this time, Undecided is simply a racist in disguise or in denial.

    They want to vote for Mccain because he is white. but they are cocerned about the country and there is their dilegma.

    October 30, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
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