Washington Post’s take on Wisconsin, land of persuadable voters

Every four years, when it seems like our state may be in play for the presidential race, we get some national attention like this video from the Washington Post.  Of course, beer and cheese are the starting point, but we all go there.  Wouldn’t be a stereotype if it weren’t true.  And checking the Miss Pronouncer Website before saying Fond du Lac would have been a good idea (hint: knowledge of French is not helpful).

Otherwise, the video does a good job of finding those elusive undecideds – though they seem to imply that they are so plentiful here you can’t swing a dead badger without hitting one.

The undecided, or late-deciding voters have always been a part of close elections.  We know from how traffic spikes on our election Web site, WisconsinVote.org on the Monday before a Tuesday vote, that many people are cramming in some late study before heading to the polls.  But with the electorate so divided, and most people firmly in one camp or the other, for the first time that I’ve seen, these undecideds have become curiosities.  Saturday Night Live parodied them with this faux political spot:

What’s unique about Wisconsin’s undecideds is, even if they have trouble making a decision they do decide to vote.  According to the accompanying article, these Wisconsin voters “seem to be ready to go on gut instinct if necessary when they mark their ballots. Which brings up another fact about Wisconsin: Wisconsinites vote in droves. They believe in being good citizens. In 2008, more than 72 percent cast a presidential ballot…”

One of the most interesting undecideds in the video and article is Mary Shultis.  The Sheboygan candy maker, interviewed while making caramel apples, has voted for the winner in every election since Nixon in ’72.  I’m curious who she’ll settle on. As Mary Shultis goes, so may the nation.

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