1. True believers: 30% of the electorateSo the inflexible ideologues tend to be Democrats? Not necessarily. McCain doesn't inspire hardcore Republicans.
... John McCain has some support among this group of the year's most intense voters, but Barack Obama has more. By 2-1, such voters back the Democrat.
This group includes the highest percentage of women, African Americans and liberals — the sort of voters who fueled record turnout in a string of Democratic primaries this year.
Anyway, I'm completely not the sort of person who would fit this category.
2. Fired up & favorable: 14% of the electorateA funny category! I almost belong here. I like both candidates, but I can't say I'm confident. And I can't say I'm "fired up" either.
Like the "true believers," voters in the second group are overwhelmingly more enthusiastic than usual about voting. Unlike the first group, though, nearly all of them view McCain and Obama favorably....
They're confident in the ability of either candidate to handle the Oval Office...
That would seem to make them a swing group, but voters in this category say their minds are settled. By nearly 2-1, they support Obama.
3. Firmly decided: 12% of the electorateThis is like #1, but without the belief. I'd get myself into this category if it was time to vote. But it's not. So let's see what happens.
... Although they are closely divided — 50% for McCain, 48% for Obama — few swing voters are in this group. Almost all of them say they have made up their minds about their vote.
4. Up for grabs: 18% of the electorateThis is probably supposed to be my category. But I am paying attention! Yeah, but I'm paying attention so I can write about things, including the way the people in the other categories think. If I wasn't passionate about doing that, I'd be off paying attention to whatever else was the substance of my personal life.
These voters are squarely in the middle. They tend to have favorable views of both candidates and are the most likely to say either would make a good president, but they aren't yet settled in their choice. They aren't paying as much attention to the campaign as the most engaged voters in the first two groups, but they're also not as disenchanted as those in the last two groups....
This battleground group has a GOP tilt. It includes the highest percentage of whites of any group and more of those who attend church every week. McCain needs to make major inroads with them to offset Obama's edge among other voters....
5. Skeptical & downbeat: 12% of the electorateDo these people deserve to be separated from #4 ... mainly just to insult them and impugn McCain?
.... They aren't excited about the contenders to succeed the president, either. Four in 10 haven't decided whom to support, by far the largest of any group, and the rest are open to changing their minds.
Voters in this group are older than average and the least likely to have a college education. It includes the highest percentage of those who live in small towns and rural areas.
They favor McCain over Obama by 11 percentage points, but can he persuade more of them to support him — and then turn out to vote?
6. Decided but dissatisfied: 16% of the electorateAgain, the style of categorization seems to be to make McCain voters sound bad. But in fact, I identify with this mentality. You don't believe government can really solve too many problems, but it damned well better provide security. I can't fit here though, because I'm undecided.
... They include the highest percentage of conservatives and Republicans of any group, and they give Bush his highest job-approval rating, albeit still just 37%. This group is the least likely to see the Iraq war as a mistake, although 51% say that it was.
That underscores a quandary for McCain. The groups that clearly favor the Arizona senator are the two final ones. One gives Bush his highest rating, the other his lowest. One group has the fewest members who say invading Iraq was a mistake; the other has the most. Bridging that divide and building support from both groups could be a challenge, especially when it comes to calibrating how closely to embrace Bush.
National security concerns drive the "decided but dissatisfied" voters. It is the only group in which a majority favors a candidate whose strength is protecting the country from terrorism rather than fixing the economy, and the only group in which a majority doubts Obama can handle the responsibilities of commander in chief. This group is McCain's base, the only one in which his support tops 50%....
"I don't think either of these candidates are evil," McLen says of McCain and Obama, "but to use the cliché, I'm choosing the lesser of two evils."
But why are these people so different from #1? Is it because they seem more creepily negative to USAToday?