Time takes a look at who undecided voters are and the reasons they haven’t made their minds up yet.

“How can you predict the votes of the undecided? It’s actually not that hard. Our brains generate automatic responses to most stimuli. As the psychologist Robert Zajonc wrote compellingly in 1980, “we do not just a see ‘a house.’ We see a ‘handsome’ house, an ‘ugly’ house, or a ‘pretentious’ house … We sometimes delude ourselves that we proceed in a rational manner and weigh all the pros and cons of the various alternatives. But this is probably seldom the actual case. Quite often ‘I decided in favor of X’ is no more than ‘I like X.'” Most of us pick what we like, Zajonc said, and then we justify it later.

“We should respect undecided voters because they are trying hard to weigh the pros and cons and not be swayed by automatic, emotional responses. In the end, most of them will go with their guts — psychologists have shown that even those voters who, at the explicit and conscious level deny any preference for a candidate, usually have unconscious attitudes that predict how they will vote. But those who can wait until just days before a major election and still consciously describe themselves as undecided — that’s an act of deliberative democratic will. At least, that’s how I choose to see it.”

Read the full article here.

Peter Fray

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