Over on the home page, I talk to pollsters and political veterans to get a sense of how the remaining undecideds will split. The bad news is that even with a 2:1 split, Romney can only gain a few percentage points. The good news is, demographically, the remaining undecided voters are relatively low-hanging fruit:
Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff conducted the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and isolated the respondents whom they classified as “up for grabs” — either undecided or leaning only slightly to one of the candidates. Several demographic indicators suggest that the remaining voters are ripe for the picking for Romney: 68 percent are white, 57 percent are married, 53 percent are men, 70 percent think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 60 percent disapprove of how Obama is doing his job.
“They suck lemons,” Hart said with a chuckle on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown on Wednesday morning. “I mean, they are the sourest people I have ever — beyond really negative. ‘Neither’ is their favorite answer. . . . We’re talking about ‘up for grabs’ people, but in reality, a lot of these people are not going to vote.”
Unsurprisingly, McInturff sees a bigger opportunity for Romney.
“What tends to happen is the vote decision is driven by two things,” McInturff said. “Your feeling about the direction of the country — where 70 percent say the country is on the wrong track — and their feelings about the president’s performance, which is very negative. I don’t think Romney will get 100 percent of this vote, but I do think a chunk will vote and they will disproportionately break to Romney.”
Just about any Republican presidential candidate would be thrilled to face an election where victory comes down to persuading white married voters who think the country is on the wrong track and the Democratic incumbent is disappointing to vote for him.