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(Updated 9/1)

A poll out this morning (8/31) from the Associated Press says “nearly a quarter (my emphasis) of all registered voters are either undecided about the presidential race or iffy in their support for a candidate.”

There is also a poll out yesterday from Rasmussen which puts the number of undecided at 5%.

So which is it?

I’m not sure, but I don’t think it really matters. The underlying message of the polls tell us is that there are enough undecided and ‘iffy’ voters that how they decide to vote will determine who our next president will be.

On the one side, there are those who voted for Obama, in part because they felt a change was needed from Pres. Bush, and Obama seemed to capture many of the voters who were “in the middle.” Now, there is disappointment by many of these folks with Obama, with the continued state of the economy, and with questions whether Obama can really lead the country out of the mess we’re in.

Not all of these folks, I think, are ready to give up on Obama, in part because he is likeable and in part because there is some recognition that he was handed a terrible situation which was then compounded by a Republican decision and campaign not to cooperate with him to solve our nation’s problems.

I also suspect that a portion of the undecided folks are not sure of former Gov. Romney, who seems to be a competent and a solid guy but who has four problems:

1) he is being heavily influenced by the very people who refused to tackle our financial problems over the past three and a half years, some of whom want to dismantle the major programs that have benefited large numbers of our society, and some of whom are far to the right of Romney.

2) he is supported by the very wealthy businessmen and corporate interests who have benefited from the policies of the last decade while large numbers of middle class folks (and a large number of the undecided?) have suffered, raising the question “who does Romney truly represent?

and closely allied

3) he is a very, very wealthy man who may not truly understand the problems of most Americans (refusing to publish his tax returns for 10 years plays into this) and adds to the question of whose interests does he/can he truly represent.

4) he has not made a case for how he would go about reversing and solving our problems, as people understand simply cutting more taxes and cutting programs has not worked, despite the Republican mantra that that is the answer.

So it seems to me, the election is still to be won or lost.

As readers of MillersTime hopefully know, I often look for articles, data, facts that are not always widely covered in the media. In that vein, here are four recent ones that I believe are worthy of your attention, especially if you are in the 5-25% who may still be making up your mind:

1. Economic Report Card on Pres. Obama’s First Term, The Economist, Sept. 1.  This report seems to me to be devoid of rhetoric and the fairest analysis I’ve seen. Be sure you see the ‘report card’ at the end of the article even if you don’t read the entire column.

2. The Deficit. While I don’t agree with many folks who seem to believe that the budget deficit is our major problem (I think the trade deficit is more of a long term problem), take a look at this one chart in this WaPo article if you truly want to understand what is driving our national debt.

3. The Bailout. Many folks, I believe are confused and/or do not understand this issue. There is a website that just focuses on the data. It is easy to understand, and you can learn for yourself how the bailout money has been spent (including in your own state).

4. The Shrinking Middle Class. For me, the decline of the middle class is one of the most worriesome short and long term issues that faces our country. In a recently released study, the reputable Pew Research Center confirms that “the middle class is poorer, earning less and shrinking.”

As always, I encourage MillersTime readers to comment, respectfully, on any or all of this post.