Conventions chase last few undecided voters

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Only a few percent of voters are still up for grabs, forcing the GOP and Democratic teams to design their closing pitches for voters who aren’t ideological, politically knowledgeable or confident in either candidate.

President “Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could go home and go to bed for the next 64 days and end up with 48 percent of the vote,” said Matthew Dowd, a former GOP consultant who later broke with the party.

“Only about five percent of the voters remain undecided 64 days out from the election, down from 10 percent in 2008 and 15 percent in 2004,” he said Tuesday.

Other polls say the undecideds are even fewer.

A survey announced Aug. 30 by two Democratic consultants, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, declared that “just 1 percent of likely voters remain undecided … [while] in the last week of the  2008 election, by contrast, 3 to 4 percent remained undecided.”

An Aug. 27 report by Rasmussen Reports said that only two percent of voters are unsure, while two percent lean toward Romney and two percent lean toward Obama.

Another 43 percent are certain or likely Romney voters, and 48 percent are certain or likely Obama voters, according to Rasmussen.

The late-deciders’ decisions will be based on what they hear at the office water cooler, or see on TV, and on “their gut … [and] their emotional reaction,” Dowd told The Daily Caller.

Both parties have to woo the late-deciding voters with a hopeful vision, said Dowd. “The first person in this race to present a compelling vision forward is going to have a huge advantage,” he said.

The GOP has used its convention to persuade late-deciding voters that Romney is concerned for their welfare, following several months of hard-edged Democratic attack ads.

The GOP candidates also sketched out their plans to spur economic growth, aid education and help create new jobs.

Much of the convention was intended to woo people who voted for Obama in 2008, but are disappointed in his performance, Dowd said. The pitch was emphasized by Karl Rove, a leading GOP strategist, who told a roomful of supporters in Tampa, Fla., that “if you keep [campaign pitches] focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re going to agree with you.”

“I agree in principle with that … [but] it is very hard to them to do that” because the GOP’s diverse membership isn’t easily controlled, Dowd said.

However, the Democrats’ chances are damaged by poor economic data and a pessimistic public.

In response, Obama and his allies are amping up their criticism of the GOP, and are sketching out their own vision for the next four years.

“When people are sitting at home, talking about this at their kitchen tables, they’re talking about who’s going to help them send their kids to college, who’s going to help them make sure that they have access to affordable health care, who’s going to make sure that their middle-class tax cuts are continued,” according to Jennifer Psaki, the president’s traveling spokeswoman.

“Along those lines, we feel pretty good about the choice we’re presenting [and] you’ll hear the President talk about that on Thursday,” Psaki said Tuesday.

As the late-deciding voters “look at the future … they will look at the fact that the president took an economy in free fall, turned the corner, and we’ve now had 29 months of private sector-jobs [growth] and and then they’re going to ask themselves ‘What’s next?'” said Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“If you look at the Romney-Ryan proposal, it is bad news for the country,” O’Malley told TheDC.

Democrats will be helped by the high personal ratings of Michelle Obama, he added. In her convention speech, O’Malley said, she can “remind people why they liked this president … [and] can be a powerful asset.”

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