Ace of Spades has an interesting post on Independent Voters, who are turning away from Obama. If you want to understand why our political system is in such dire straits, you should go read it. Studies of independent voters show that the majority of them are closet partisans. In other words, they can be considered reliable votes for one of the two major parties, but for various reasons, don’t want to identity with them. There is, however, a large number of voters who fit the profile that Ace describes, and they constitute enough people to swing elections:
In other words, they have decided — they just think it makes them seem like smarter, more informed voters to claim they’re still deciding, so they won’t admit that. As they’re actually not very well informed voters — and I think they know this — this pretense becomes very important to them. They need some pretense to excuse away their complete disinterest in reading the news.
So they basically start insisting they want the candidates themselves to catch them up to speed, ignoring the fact that policies are spelled out on their campaign websites, and ignoring the fact that these positions are easily and readily discoverable, just by googling and reading.
In 2008, this cohort broke heavily for Obama, and in 2012 they will be an important component in the race. This is why political rhetoric today is so heavily geared toward the ignorant. Speaking of which, Ilya Somin has a video highlighting the problem of political ignorance.