In 2012, Romney was running even with Barack Obama at this late point in the campaign. It was a very competitive race compared to today as most publicly available polling has found Trump well behind Clinton – sometimes by double-digits. One thing these two elections have in common, maybe the only thing, is that 7{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} to 8{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of surveyed voters are undecided.

But, are these the same people? We looked at the NBC-WSJ pre-election poll of 1800 registered voters conducted just before the 2012 election compared to the 1900 registered voters we interviewed in early to mid-October, also conducted for NBC-WSJ, to compare 2012 and 2016 undecided voters.

The finding: Undecided voters in the 2016 election are fundamentally different than the undecided voters we interviewed in November 2012. Today’s undecided voters are more Republican than Democrat and they prefer a Republican-controlled Congress by a wide margin.

Undecided Voters

The basic point is, unlike 2012 when undecided voters were breaking for President Obama, the “juice” in the undecided vote this year is favoring Republicans.

These voters could help Trump close the gap in the overall popular vote, but their interest in the 2016 election in Mid-October is lower than among 2012 undecided voters.

Still, there’s a chance – if this trend is apparent in statewide polling – that some of the battleground states could end up closer than the polling today suggests, if these undecided voters actually go out and vote.

*The NBCWSJ poll is conducted by the firms of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates. The views expressed in this blog are those of Micah Roberts and not necessarily shared by Hart Research Associates or NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.
Public Opinion Strategies