THE NEW YORK TIMES IS ON IT  5:17 pm August 9, 2012

Exclusive NYT Interview Indicates That Undecided Voters May Despise Politics Entirely

by Jim Newell

It says 'REGULAR' on her driver's licenseThe New York Times ventured out of the Big City to conduct one of its most ambitious anthropological studies of the election, deep into the virgin forests of Ohio. Veteran Timesman John Harwood was tasked with a mission that no cub reporter would ever have returned from alive: Talking to some lady in Ohio about the election, in a parking lot. What motivates this creature, the “Regular Ohioan”? How does she respond to political stimuli? Does she see the teevee ads in her flyover hinterland, and how does her genetic wiring influence the words that come out of her mouth? The preliminary results — and lord knows there’s still test after test needing to be run back at the lab — indicate that she “hates everything about politics,” as they term it in Science.

The woman, research unit #OH1432McLady or “Rosemary Pallen,” offers many variations of “I really just hate all of this” that could represent key breakthroughs for psychologists and sociologists alike:

Q.
How much attention are you paying to the presidential race right now?

A.
If it’s on, I listen. Mostly I turn it off.

Q.
You don’t seek out information, or try to watch the TV ads?

A.
Oh no. They absolutely get muted.

Q.
Are you starting to get bombarded, in addition to the ads, with mail and phone calls from the campaigns?

A.
Phone calls — totally hanging up on those people, too. Annoying. Very annoying.

Q.
Have you followed the back-and-forth between the two campaigns over Romney’s statements on his foreign trip, or Obama’s statements like “the private sector’s doing fine?”

A.
I heard some of it but I don’t even recall what it was about. Kids in a playground having a little fight and a little tiff. Just throwing out names saying ‘You did this.’ ‘You did that.’ You don’t know what the truth is. [...]

Q.
You’ve got a House race in this district between two incumbents thrown together in redistricting — the Republican Jim Renacci, and the Democrat, Betty Sutton. How does that feel to you?

A.
I don’t know anything about either one of them. I have no opinion. [...]

Q.
Will you watch both parties’ conventions?

A.
Absolutely not.

Could there be others like her?

[NYT]

 

Hola wonkerados.

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{ 100 comments }

actor212 August 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Ooooh, she's a bitch!

Anyone have her phone number?

Lascauxcaveman August 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I nominate her for preznit!

Callyson August 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Yeah, but she charges by the minute.

actor212 August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

Cna I borrow your credit card, in that case?

LastGasp August 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Kids in a playground having a little fight and a little tiff. Just throwing out names saying ‘You did this.’ ‘You did that.’
Well, I have to admit, for a woman who hates politics her summary of campaign behavior is pretty succinct — and accurate.

kittensdontlie August 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

That's the GOP plan: Liberal leaning votes will be suppressed by making politics disconcerting and ugly.

Guppy August 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Succinct and accurate, but is it fair and balanced?

MilwaukeeKent August 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Even in serious times, it's always Silly Season. Small wonder the likes of the Brothers Koch think it's a cakewalk to conquest. Apathy begats tyranny (insert other trite statement here). On the other hand "Politics makes people change channels on the TV" might do more to blunt campaign finance over-kill than turning back Citizens United.

JudasPeckerwood August 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

The secret is to always lead with a Kardashian question.

BoatOfVelociraptors August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Not on this website.

Fox n Fiends August 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I bet she hates football too!

Negropolis August 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I've never heard of a Buckeye hating football.

MissTaken August 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

With her multiple daily trips to the toilet this 'regular' Ohioan has no time to keep up on the campaign.

SorosBot August 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

That's a shitty thing to say about her.

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

She looks like she's always in a pissy mood.

Lascauxcaveman August 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Urine pretty good range there, alright. She just don't give a crap for political ads.

kittensdontlie August 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Just wait until they start interviewing the irregular Ohioans. Listening to their caterwauling makes my own ass hurt.

montreal_bruin August 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm

A pissy mood? How would you feel if you were "40 miles South of Cleveland?"

widestanceromance August 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

She looks a little constipated to me.

mlle_derp August 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

If she ate all those unread fliers she's getting in the mail, she'd get more fiber in her diet…

widestanceromance August 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Does bullshit count as fiber?

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Bullshit on paper has pantloads o' fiber.

widestanceromance August 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

That was truly beautiful.

pinkocommi August 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

"Q. Are you starting to get bombarded, in addition to the ads, with mail and phone calls from the campaigns?
A. Phone calls — totally hanging up on those people, too. Annoying. Very annoying."

I've been doing it wrong this whole time. When those telemarketers call me I always ask them, "What are you wearing?"

Jus_Wonderin August 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

My biz partner did that once and the girl took the bait. He got so flustered he had to hang up.

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thank you, Wonkette, for re-establishing my faith in the American People.

coolhandnuke August 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Tin soldiers and Mittens coming,
We're kinda on our own.
This summer I heard her droning,
Brain dead in Ohio.

johnnymeatworth August 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Gotta get down to it!
Boredom is dragging us down.

MilwaukeeKent August 10, 2012 at 12:16 am

Should have changed channels long ago.

Callyson August 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm

What if you knew her and
Found her dead in the voting booth
How could you run when you know?

iburl August 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Why shouldn't she hate politics?
I used to like MSNBC until it became the 24 hour "Nah, nah, nah, Mitt Romney is an Idiot" channel. I already knew that, and if I didn't, I'd figure it out during the first 8 hours of "news" devoted entirely to Mitt Rmoney.
The problems we have as a country will not be solved by electing either Obama or Romney.
In my view, electing Obama slows down the inevitable apocalypse, and Romney speeds it up, but we're going down the shitter with either one.

elviouslyqueer August 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I don’t see either party giving me any benefits whatsoever in my life, because there’s such a deadlock. They’re equally to blame. You’ve got Congress and the Senate and the Republicans and the Democrats — they’re not going to meet in the middle. They don’t care about the middle-class person. They’ve got all the lobbyists in their back pocket. We elect them, but they don’t listen to us.

Honey, as a smartass gay liberal living in Mississippi, I feel your pain.

Iam_Who_Iam August 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I'm so tired of hearing that. If the Democrats move any farther to the "middle" we'll all be Republicans. And yeah, I live in Texas right next door to Oklahoma, I totally feel the pain but it's not because of the Democrats.

Negropolis August 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Yeah, here we go with the "both sides do it" bullshit. This is just what the Republicans want. "Why do you keep hitting yourself" as they smash the Democrats fists into their own faces.

Callyson August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

And on that note…way to go Ohio…

The Pretenders – My City Was Gone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA56J8zlAdo

SmutBoffin August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

You missed the best part:

Q.
When do you think there will be a point in the election when you do tune in?
A.
Maybe until a day or two before — when I might have to make a decision, if I decide to make a decision.

Godspeed, undecided voter!

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Shorter Undecided Voter in Ohio: "I really don't give a shit. Can I please just go into the WalMart already?"

Callyson August 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Also, thanks, John, but EJ Dionne beat you on the "why Americans hate politics" question by about twenty years…

SorosBot August 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

But I bet she always makes sure to vote for who will be the next American Idol!

weejee August 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

And Bristol when she's Prancing with the Elk.

Fairtackle August 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

goddammit people are dumb.
I hear this attitude a lot. This is not soccer, people.

WhatTheHeck August 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

politics is a lot like soccer. A lot of running around, very few goals and officials who make very, very, bad decisions which affect the outcome of the game.

iburl August 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Also, in the grand scheme, it's a meaningless game whose only real goal is whipping people into a frenzy and making money for the owners.

AncienReggie August 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I don't see it that way. I've seen a lot of progress in my life, then almost as much dragged backwards–always by Republicans with the help of a handful of bought-and-paid-for bluedouche Democrats. But overall, we've come a long way.

It's ok with me that you're dead wrong, though.

iburl August 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

You must be a lot older than me then.

I've not seen a lot of progress in my life, that is, unless you consider 1% owning 100% of the political process and 35% of everything else progress.

Health Care reform? A pathetic entrenchment of our private insurance system that only 10 years ago was a Republican idea.

Can you give me an example of "Progress" in the last 30 years?

It's ok with me that you're dead wrong, though.

mayor_quimby August 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm

If it were the right kind of soccer, we would get drunk, vote on Saturday and fight the opposition in the streets after the polls closed. At least you know a hooligan is paying full attention.

widestanceromance August 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Kudos to the NYT for finding this mysterious creature. Has she been sent to a lab for genetic analysis? Just how out of touch is our lamedick media?

Just last night, my other half came home spouting wildly–and sarcastically–about how a study found that cats are killing machines at night (actual footage of what happens, too). Without missing a beat, I said, "You must have seen that at HuffPo." Totes. We laughed dryly at the obviousness of it all.

smokefilledroommate August 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

"If either candidate were as interesting as Fifty Shades of Grey, then I might care to form an opinion. Seriously, you're keeping me from WalMart."

mlle_derp August 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

That's odd- I'm pretty sure that's the name of Romney's haircolor product.

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I thought he used 'Arrogance For Men'.

not that Dewey August 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

'Just for Me'

mayor_quimby August 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I love that!

weejee August 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Or Ketchup in the Rye J.D. Salinger's cookbook.

widestanceromance August 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Muh ceder cheese is meltin'!!

sharethegrief August 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

She's a woman who looks young enough to use birth control. I think she needs to pay a little more attention to that fictional war.

mlle_derp August 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

She's 62, but I would like to think she cared about other women she might know- daughters, nieces, friends' daughters, co-workers, etc. We're all in this together.

Same reason I'd like the menfolks to be paying attention…

sharethegrief August 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Agreed. You said it better.

fartknocker August 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

NYT had to go all the way to Ohio to find an apathetic voter? I would of figured it would have pretty easy to find an apathetic voter within 1 block of their newsroom.

Caelan Aegana August 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

New Yorkers are so famously cooperative.

Butch_Wagstaff August 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Or sleeping on the street right in front of their building.

boobookitteh August 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Ah. This answers my earlier question about why hasn't the Revolution started yet.

No one gives a crap. Good to know. If you need me, I'll be hanging myself in the barn.

Designer_Rants August 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

She seems like the kind of fool that doesn't suffer fools gladly… but she's so foolish that she doesn't know who the fools are so as not to suffer them.

DerrickWildcat August 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Today we are all Regular Ohioans.

Jus_Wonderin August 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Q: Is your refrigerator running?
A: I wouldn't know, I don't think about ANYTHING,

barto August 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm

She was probably a poly-sci major at the local For Profit U.

Gleem McShineys August 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm

In the past, millions of dollars were left unspent, all the while apathetic people didn't give two shits about politics.

Now, THANKS TO CITIZENS UNITED, there are millions are being wasted, and it is estimated that apathetic people don't give on average, five to ten shits about politics!

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Q: What the difference between ignorance and apathy?
A: I don't know and I don't care.

Blueb4sinrise August 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Rosie!!!!!!!!
How the hell are ya? Yer lookin good!
Sorry I didn't call.
Yeah, moved to Ari……..uhhhhhh…….Oregon. Yeah, Oregon.

Steverino247 August 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

A friend of mine once told me that advertising was like pouring water on rocks. "You have to pour at lot of water on rocks to cause any changes to them."

He's right and here's proof.

DerrickWildcat August 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I worked at Gallup for a year doing polls with, "Regular Americans" from sea to shining sea. This is why I now drive out to the middle of nowhere by myself and hike around and take pictures of birds and shit.
True Story.

VirtualDespot August 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This comment made my day. Keep snappin'.

SayItWithWookies August 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

So is the idea not to ask her any questions about the issues, since that might leave a potential voter swayed one way or the other? For instance, if I were interviewing an Ohio voter, I'd be tempted to ask if he/she approved of Mitt's idea that letting everyone vote the weekend before the election was the same as disenfranchising the military. Or if she liked paying more in taxes so Mitt could roll around in it. But that would probably appear partisan, so — what's your favorite color?

AncienReggie August 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

This explains why Harry Reid is having to do journalism's job calling out Mitt Romney on his taxes.

Caelan Aegana August 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Soooo… that would by why the Daily Kos poll found that 68% of everybody thinks political media shills are shills.

But hey, man, that's totally my take, we should bring in a winger so we can be "fair and balanced".

Butch_Wagstaff August 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm

No no no. You have to bring in about a dozen wingers for every "moderate" and 18 wingers for every half-a-liberal.

rickmaci August 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Two things irritating me today.

-Every damn lie coming out of the Twitt Romoney campaign
-The social worker baby. It's getting really annoying.
http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/a/ab/Dancing_b

MissTaken August 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

If you were in Singapore you could do your duty and get your National Day on to make your own little baby. And by National Day on, I mean sex. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/08/ment

rickmaci August 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I would gladly volunteer for that duty. Do I have to disclose that I had a vasectomy?

Nostrildamus August 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Aug 9, 2012: Social worker baby becomes self aware.

SigDeFlyinMonky August 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Lady, you may be done with politics, but the politicians aren't done with you.

Angry_Marmot August 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Pericles represent!

smokefilledmeltdown August 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Q: Are you registered to vote?
A: I don't fucking know.

Jerri August 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Glad all the campaigns spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to buy…I mean WIN the votes of people like this, and I am thrilled that these people are the voters who can swing elections. Absolutely thrilled.

I am going to go bang my head against a pile of bricks for about 20 minutes now.

Joshua Norton August 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Could there be others like her?

I'm more politically aware than her, but when it comes to the constant phone calls and ads and flyers and mailers and speeches and news shows and never ending horse-race crap, she's singing my song.

Chet Kincaid_ August 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm

This is just a lazy exercise in latching onto the first piece of evidence at hand for the one opinion that so-called objective journalists are brave enough to stand behind: that voters are "turned off by the negative campaigning of both sides." Virtually no actual reporting or insight is required to churn out that perennial boilerplate crap. Just randomly call some lady in Ohio and type up whatever she said!

Katydid August 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Why in the world did this woman register to vote?

The parties are going to spend nearly $2 billion to convince people like this to vote for their side? How many undecideds could there be at this point?

It seems the whole purpose of campaigning is to motivate your base, and to do that you have to convince people to really, really hate the other guy. It's like a war. With votes, of course.

PuglyDoRight August 10, 2012 at 1:26 am

They are fighting over about 3-4 percent of the population in Ohio.

not that Dewey August 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Alvy Singer: Here, you look like a very happy couple, um, are you?

Female street stranger: Yeah.

Alvy Singer: Yeah? So, so, how do you account for it?

Female street stranger: Uh, I'm very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.

Male street stranger: And I'm exactly the same way.

Alvy Singer: I see. Wow. That's very interesting. So you've managed to work out something?

bobbert August 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

That's our shortstop!!

bobbert August 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Something something informed electorate oh fuck we're doomed.

PuglyDoRight August 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I'm one of those people calling. No one in Ohio seems to know who Sherrod Brown is. God help us.

Negropolis August 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm

And, yet among the people that do pay attention and actually vote, Sherrod is kicking that little baby's ass all across the Buckeye State, thank god.

PuglyDoRight August 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

Yep! I hear that Rove may pull his money since it's not doing any good in Ohio. Fingers crossed.

BaldarTFlagass August 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I 'member I was logging an oil well in the vicinity of College Station (Home of the Texas Aggie) on Election Day 1992. I was watching the local 5pm news broadcast (you can imagine) and they were doing the "man in the street" interviews outside the polling place at the mall there in CS. Every single person they interviewed was a well-dressed white woman heading back to her Suburban and they unanimously said they had voted for GHW Bush. When it was "back to you" time, the local anchor said "Well, looks like it's going to be Bush for another four years, in a landslide." Fucking Nostradamus.

TribecaMike August 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm

"Neither of the candidates has done enough to confirm my personal biases, so a pox on both their houses"

ttommyunger August 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Must be nice, just chewing your cud and staring blankly off into the distance. I'd say if ignorance is bliss, millions of Americans are in ecstasy

Negropolis August 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

You know, aside from this shitty journalism, people like her annoy me to no end. When you don't care, lady, people end up caring for you…and rarely do they have your interest in mind, so you better start caring.

DahBoner August 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm

"World Champion limbo dancer"

DAY-O!

Thunderclees August 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

There's a big section of this country that thinks an election should be like Thanksgiving dinner, and would you all stop fighting please, it's Thanksgiving for pete's sake and you're brothers!

Shut up. All of you who call yourselves "undecided" should switch to "apathetic" or "ignorant," because those labels are much, much more accurate.

AncienReggie August 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I probably am a lot older than you.

I don't happen to be gay or brown or a woman but if I were I'd say things are much better than they used to be. Not perfect, but vastly improved. Also, while the health care "reform" was indeed pathetic and warped to enrich insurance companies and avoid hurting big pharma and the medico-industrial complex, at least everyone will, presumably, HAVE health insurance before 2014 is done. And that includes people who have preexisting conditions. That alone is huge.
The environment is another area. Again, far from perfect, but way, way better than it was only 40 years ago. One other quick one, a recent development: It now requires a little extra subterfuge for members of Congress to make a killing in the stock market based on inside information.

I admit, being ancient lends considerable perspective, my young friend. Lots of things in contemporary public policy and politics suck. Suck hard. But as the even older Garrison Keillor says, things could be worse. And I remember when they were.

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