Swing Vote Smaller than '92 '96 '00, Yet Still Substantial

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

06/24/2004 - There are considerably fewer swing voters now than at this point in the previous three presidential campaigns. But the swing vote, while smaller in relative terms, is still substantial and certainly large enough to propel either of the presidential candidates to a big victory. Pew's most recent survey, conducted June 3-13, 2004, finds 21% of registered voters either undecided or, having expressed a preference, saying there is a chance they might change their mind.

That is the same number of voters who were still weighing their options at the end of the last presidential campaign. At this point four years ago, fully 33% of voters were not yet committed. In June 1996, the last election in which an incumbent president stood for reelection, 27% were open to persuasion; in May 1992, the comparable number was 31%.

Within the swing group, 8% lean to Bush, 7% to Kerry, and 6% refused to lean to either candidate. The number of voters not yet solidly aligned behind Bush or Kerry has declined since February, when 29% were still not certain. In the current survey, committed voters are evenly divided between George Bush and John Kerry (40% Bush, 39% Kerry).

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