Undecided voters in Michigan could have major impact in this year’s presidential election

Retired political science professor says don’t underestimate the impact of undecided voters
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 12:03 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/22/2020) - Almost everybody knows how they’re going to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

The key word there is “almost," according to Paul Rozycki, a retired political science professor at Mott Community College. This implying there’s still some wiggle room for undecided voters in 2020.

Rozycki says don’t under estimate their impact. 

The majority, however, know who they’re voting for.

“Given the division we’ve got in many ways, no, I think people are so fired up about politics that if you’re going to vote at all, you probably know how you’re going to vote,: Rozycki said. 

Rozycki says the number of undecided voters now is uniquely low compared to years in the past. 

Our most recent ABC 12/EPIC MRA poll says just 9 percent of Michigan voters haven’t made up their minds. 

So who are they?

“Those who are younger, those who don’t vote in every election, and very often they’re the ones who don’t tend to follow every last twist and turns of politics as well,” Rozycki said.

Rozycki says at times, this group of undecided voters wait to decide until they’re actually casting their ballots. Even though they may not know until then, Royzycki says they know as well as decided voters what’s driving this election.

“There’s a lot of other stuff out there, but I think the economy and the pandemic are the two issues that are going to drive this campaign both for the decided voters and for those who are undecided right now,” Rozycki said. 

Now, what’s going to help them decide?

“Very often it’ll be on some last-minute thing they heard the week before the election or even the day before the election, something they saw on Facebook, or some comment they saw on television. They make the difference,” Rozycki said.

In 2016, President Trump won Michigan by a slim margin: just a bit over 10,000 votes.

In 2020, even the slightest shift in voting can have big-picture impact, even if just 5 percent turn out and vote.

“We’ll see if they vote at all. Very often, undecided voters are the ones who choose not to vote, and they might not even turn out, yet they’re the ones who can make a difference. 5 percent is still an awful lot in a close election, so they can make a big difference in a lot of ways," Rozycki said.

Rozycki said expect both candidates to continue fighting to mobilize these voters before Election Day, especially in a swing state like Michigan.

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