Exclusive NYT Interview Indicates That Undecided Voters May Despise Politics Entirely

  the new york times is on it

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]

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Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

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100 comments

  1. LastGasp

    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.

    1. kittensdontlie

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

    2. MilwaukeeKent

      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.

  2. MissTaken

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

        1. Lascauxcaveman

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

        2. kittensdontlie

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

    1. mlle_derp

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

  3. pinkocommi

    "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?"

    1. Jus_Wonderin

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

  4. coolhandnuke

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

  5. iburl

    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.

  6. elviouslyqueer

    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.

    1. Iam_Who_Iam

      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.

    2. Negropolis

      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.

  7. SmutBoffin

    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!

  8. Callyson

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

    1. WhatTheHeck

      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.

      1. iburl

        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.

        1. AncienReggie

          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.

          1. iburl

            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.

          2. AncienReggie

            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.

    2. mayor_quimby

      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.

  9. widestanceromance

    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.

  10. sharethegrief

    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.

    1. mlle_derp

      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…

  11. fartknocker

    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.

  12. boobookitteh

    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.

  13. Designer_Rants

    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.

  14. Gleem McShineys

    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!

  15. Blueb4sinrise

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

  16. Steverino247

    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.

  17. DerrickWildcat

    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.

  18. SayItWithWookies

    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?

    1. AncienReggie

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

    2. Caelan Aegana

      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".

      1. Butch_Wagstaff

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

  19. Jerri

    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.

  20. Joshua Norton

    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.

  21. Chet Kincaid_

    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!

  22. Katydid

    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.

  23. not that Dewey

    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?

  24. PuglyDoRight

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

    1. Negropolis

      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.

      1. PuglyDoRight

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

  25. BaldarTFlagass

    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.

  26. TribecaMike

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

  27. ttommyunger

    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

  28. Negropolis

    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.

  29. Thunderclees

    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.

Comments are closed.