View Full Version : In Denver, Deep Doubts About Obama,Undecided voters have trouble supporting the nomin

08-25-2008, 06:27 PM
In Denver, Deep Doubts About Obama

Undecided voters have trouble supporting the nominee.

Denver — On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, in a downtown high-rise conference room lined with two-way mirrors, 21 undecided Colorado voters sit trying to decide whether they have more doubts and reservations about Barack Obama or John McCain. It’s not easy.

The group has been convened by the pollster Frank Luntz, who usually does this sort of thing on live television but has instead organized the session at the behest of the American Association of Retired Persons and the related activist group Divided We Fail. As the voters answer Luntz’s rapid-fire questions, a small group of reporters watches from the other side of the mirrors. And after two hours of talking, and a pre-convention buildup here in Denver in which Democrats have received lots of positive coverage in this critical swing state, you’d have to say that the news is pretty good for McCain. The undecideds have plenty of problems with him, and they can’t stand George W. Bush, but they seem more deeply concerned about Obama than McCain, because they have still not answered the threshold question about the Democratic nominee: Is he ready?

At first, the atmosphere seems quite friendly for Obama. Luntz asks the Democrats in the room to raise their hands. Four people do so. Then he asks for the independents; about 15 hands go up. And then he asks for Republicans to raise their hands. There are none.

That in itself seems to show a pretty significant change. In information sheets the voters had filled out beforehand, twelve said they voted for George W. Bush in 2004, while just five voted for John Kerry. (Four either voted for other candidates or did not vote at all.) What that suggests is that people who voted for Bush just four years ago have no interest in being seen as Republicans now — surely not good news for McCain.

But the undecideds seem willing to separate their dislike of the parties, and the Republican party in particular, from the presidential candidates themselves. When Luntz goes around the room, pressing each person to give his or her best one-word description of Obama, these are some of the answers:













Yes, one guy did say “apocalypse,” which suggests he might not be all that undecided. (On the other side, a couple of people say they’ve recently made up their minds to vote for Obama.) Then Luntz turns the one-word question to McCain:snip