After almost $100 million in ads running for a solid year, recent polls show about 5% of North Carolina voters are still undecided. Who the hell are these people? Well, on Monday night I got a glimpse of some. Watching a Walmart Moms focus group gave insight into how one segment of those undecided voters think.
They are very low-information voters. When asked to name a member of Congress besides Hagan, they struggled to find a name until someone mentioned Nancy Pelosi. The names Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell didn’t really ring much of a bell.
They are much more concerned about Ebola than they are about ISIS. They think the CDC dropped the ball but they don’t really blame the president. In fact, while they are disappointed in Obama, they don’t harbor strong feelings towards him and don’t seem to blame him for the state of the country. They think Congress is much more of a mess.
They believe there is too much money in politics and that most politicians don’t fully grasp the challenges facing families like theirs. They don’t see a lot of difference in the two parties when it comes to money. Both sides are cutting deals behind the scenes.
And that explains why the Koch brother strategy never took hold. While the Walmart Moms believe the rich and powerful have a disproportionate amount of influence, they don’t blame the Republicans for rigging the system. They blame politicians in general.
So the Koch brothers only offered half of the equation. The other half should have been the fire-breathing populists who would stand up for the little guys and take on the banks and corporations who are screwing them. For the Koch brothers strategy to be successful, Democrats needed villains AND heroes. They only offered the bad guys.
Given their level of attention to politics, the Walmart Moms probably don’t know who the Koch brothers are anyway. They couldn’t tell much about either Kay Hagan or Thom Tillis. They knew that Hagan votes with the president, but since they aren’t that mad at Obama, that doesn’t carry much punch. They knew that she “missed a vote” to attend a fundraiser and that was about it. They couldn’t remember anything that Hagan has said about Tillis.
Almost all were undecided in the Senate election. When pushed to vote, they split 5-5. Unless something dramatic happens in the next two weeks that directly affects their lives, these voters probably won’t have much influence on the outcome on November 4. They reinforced my notion that the electorate is pretty locked in going down the stretch.