Imagine Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton sitting in a room together, listening to a pollster describing the mythical undecided voter, saying: She’s forty-six years old. She grew up on a farm or in a working class neighborhood. She’s a working mother now with two children, living in the suburbs. She’s pro-choice. And she’s sitting in the pew in church every Sunday.
Obama nods slowly. Mitt Romney scratches his head. And Clinton grins and says, Yeah, I know that girl. I went to high school with a girl like her.
That’s a long way of saying when it comes to undecided voters Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are talking to a concept they heard from a pollster – while Bill Clinton is talking to a woman he’s met and known.
For example, when the archetypical suburban working mother sees Romney’s new ad about China’s currency manipulation she may think, At last, he’s talking about an issue I care about – but, then again, she may also furrow her brow and sigh, Why on earth is he talking about the Yuan?