A good chunk of the participants in tomorrow’s Iowa caucuses have something in common with journalists, college students and Christmas shoppers. That is, they don’t get down to business until their deadline is upon them. Undecided voters, if we are to believe the polls, are hiding behind every satellite truck in the Hawkeye State, and they’re due to play a big role in the outcome.
According to the Des Moines Register, 41 percent of likely caucusgoers “have a first choice but said they could still be persuaded to support another candidate.” Provided, of course, that such candidate showers them with personal attention and grand promises.
Hard as that figure may be to believe, it gives the media a sheet of marching orders: Go out and find all these undecided voters. To judge from the pre-caucus journalism on the Internet right now, the media have accomplished this particular mission. Everywhere you look, there’s an interview with some Iowan in agony over Santorum vs. Bachmann or Romney vs. Gingrich. Herewith a look at the top five Iowa agonizers, as served up by the political media establishment.
Pam Arnold Powers and husband Kelly.
Profiled in: The Washington Post
Undecided bona fides: They crossed party lines in 2008, becoming Obama supporters. Michelle Obama “took Ms. Powers by the arm by the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair,” a moment vested with electricity. No word on whether a 2012 candidate executed a similar act of tenderness in proximity to pork.
Statement of exasperation: “I’ve got to figure it out by Tuesday.” — Pam Arnold Powers. The toil.
Profiled in: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Undecided bona fides: Voted for Mike Huckabee in 2008.
Statement of exasperation: “The thing that concerns me is we have to have somebody who can get this president out, and I don’t know who that is.” Most likely, someone with a gift for converting undecided voters.
Profiled in: Minnesota Public Radio
Undecided bona fides: The guy has been taking part in the Iowa caucuses for “much of his adult life.”
Statement of exasperation: “I’m more undecided this time than ever before.” Must be the dearth of debates on cable television.
Profiled in: Talking Points Memo
Undecided bona fides: She has a tripartite undecidedness, wavering among Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Statement of exasperation: “I’m trying to reconcile my heart and my head.”Sounds vaguely Churchillian — she’s gotta be a Gingrich woman.
Profiled in: The Los Angeles Times
Undecided bona fides: This fiftysomething nurse, torn between Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, attended a Perry event at a sports bar over the weekend. After that episode, “she remained just as torn as she was when she walked into the sports bar” — an indication that she might just enjoy this undecided fun.
Statement of exasperation: “Personally, I’m gonna just say a prayer before I go in there and I’m going to ask for God’s guidance on who to vote for.” Now there’s a quote.