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‘I don’t think they care’: Undecided voters explain their reasons

Mar 21


While most voters already have an idea of how they’ll be voting — or not voting — in November’s presidential election, a small minority of Americans remain undecided. How they ultimately choose to cast their ballots might influence the results of tight races in key swing states.

In this 30-minute episode of America Speaks, pollster and political analyst Dr. Frank Luntz asks a focus group of undecided voters what their reservations are regarding Democratic and Republican candidates and the U.S. political process as a whole. The participants gave a wide range of reasons, but when asked if they felt “alienated by the political process,” almost every one of them raised their hand.

Hello, and welcome to a very special and very unusual edition of America speaks. I’m Dr. Frank Luntz. And we’re going to let you the viewer East drop on a political conversation with 19 undecided swing voters from 17 Different states, as they debate the issues, the candidates and the factors that will determine their vote in 2024. Even though the election is still more than half a year away, more than 90% of the electorate already knows whether they will be voting for Joe Biden, or Donald Trump, or a third party candidate, or no candidate at all. The number of truly undecided voters is tiny and shrinking every day, what they think and what they believe really matters. So for the next 20 minutes, uncensored, uninterrupted and almost unedited, you’re going to be a fly on the wall as literally the most important voters in America come to grips with their choices, their challenges, and their futures. And you can only hear a conversation like this on straight arrow news. So settle in for what will truly be a fascinating conversation. Just to get a confirmation here. Raise your hand if you’re still not decided about who you’re going to vote for in 2024.
I see every hand go up. So I gotta figure this out. Why are you undecided? There’s such a difference between Trump and Biden, you’ve got Bobby Kennedy running, you got other independents running, you can even not vote Why have you not made up your minds? James, just give me a sentence to explain why
the choices are, are just the lowest possible denominators on each side, in my opinion, if anybody else was running, besides the two people that were running, I don’t think I would be undecided at all.
Rita, why are you undecided? In one sentence? I’m I’m excited because none of the candidates seem like they’re speaking to me directly.
Robbie, why undecided? I, neither one of them are doing anything for here, my state and I just I don’t trust either one of them at this point.
Christine, tell me why. Because I don’t like their behavior, the way they speak. And the fact that it’s all been a little bit too questionable about VP and all that other stuff. So I’m kind of waiting to see who ends up finally being at the end, Rachel,
I feel that both candidates are moreso running to prove a point to themselves less so than actually do something for me. And I’m not really sure what I benefit from either of them winning.
Okay, of all the responses. That one’s the most interesting so far, Zachary.
Um, I believe both
candidates don’t represent the majority of American ideas like my my own personal ideas. And they’re too extreme. And I’m waiting to see what other options we’ll have in the future. Logan from North Carolina,
I’ve voted for each once. Trump and 16 and Biden and 20. And I’m just frustrated and tired that these are our choices. And so I’m just waiting. Hopefully, you know, there’s a third option
markeesha Wow, man, I don’t think for me, I don’t think either candidate holds the state of black America as a priority. I think for the most part, they use us as props. So I have not been convinced by either one of them them that they care about the things that I care about those in my community. Things these candidates understand you understand your your hopes and dreams and understand your daily challenges. Does anybody here?
What is what is wrong, both of these candidates and you’re not only undecided voters, you’re also split ticket voters and swing voters. All of you reject partisanship, everyone on the Zoom votes, who are Republicans and Democrats about even maybe a little bit more on either side. What’s going on now what is wrong with our political system that these are the people who won the nomination? Anybody? Money for that? I can tell you that was too much. It shouldn’t take billions of dollars to run for office. It’s absurd.
And why do you think it takes so much?
Because they got to pay off people probably I don’t know. It’s just there’s too many ads and they got to satisfy too many people and all that it’s just gross to your really, really dark guy. Are you that neighbor?
Probably a little bit more. So
Gallup polls shows us that people have been leaving both Team Red and Team Blue throughout the 21st century. So when you take the cool headed middle of the road people out of both of the parties, the only people left in the parties tend to be the rabid ideologues, the partisans and the occasional wing nuts. And it’s kind of like it’s distilling the bad essence with inside of each party. Sarah, I see you nodding your head. You agree. I agree. I definitely think that the middle is not representative. Well, I think they pander to the loudest voice in the room. That’s all on social media and the like. And I think that the messages are a bit skewed, and they’re out of touch.
Robbie, you’re also nodding your head, are these two candidates out of touch? They are it in my state. I mean, we’re dealing right now is like, every single candidate on the Republican side, I’m endorsed by Trump, I’m pro Trump, pro Trump, pro Trump pro Trump, and you’re just like, dude, I’m just getting like diarrhea from all these candidates and the same thing? And it’s like, none of you are seeing anything that’s different from the other one. So brandy, is it a failure of our political system? Is it a failure of individual Americans? is a failure of the political parties? Why are we in this situation? It gets a combination of everything.
And like the bottom of the barrel was the perfect response. That’s where we’re at. It’s the bottom of the barrel. You’ve got a guy that’s been charged with trying to
steal the election, and then a guy that has no clue what’s going on. He’s out of touch. I mean, he’s long winded. So tonight should be interesting.
Why Allah didn’t feel this negative towards the political process?
Yes, the short answer is because I just like I said, I think that it’s a pissing contest. I don’t think that they have America’s best interests at heart, I think they’re just looking at everything is who’s the most valuable person that could be the author,
without all of this stuff in the middle that matters. So I’m a language person. And we’ve only been going at this for a few minutes, and I’ve heard diarrhea, and I’ve heard pissing contest. So basically, you’re addressing bodily fluids when you talk about this campaign. Tyler, is it really that bad?
Yep, I think so. I think it’s moneyback special interests and political parties, so removed from the average American citizen and what they’re going through on a daily basis, that it becomes something that’s beyond what we could ever want out of candidates to run for office. Darren, what does it say about America that these are the two party nominees?
I think there’s, yeah, I think we feel a lot really alienated, especially the younger generations, it’s to, you know, longtime insiders, just propped up by special interest groups and, and their friends.
Okay, let’s do a show of hands here who feels alienated by the political process? Because of these two candidates, raise your hands if we feel alienated?
It’s almost everyone.
Why? Explain why anybody?
I don’t think they care.
And like, what gives you that impression that they don’t care?
Well, Biden really doesn’t say much.
And whatever he says, is kind of not really giving you much information. And then the other one,
Trump just says whatever’s on his mind, and it could be completely offensive, or it could be out of left field. But then again, like right now, I mean, it’s kind of isn’t it’s a little surprising to me that the country is letting someone run for president that is literally sitting on trial.
That’s him. He kept in reality, he committed a crime. It’s pretty out. It’s kind of amazing to me. Somebody else, why do you feel alienated? They can’t communicate. Explain that. You talk about language. You’ve got Trump on one side who hyperbole is every other word. And then you have Biden who swept Super Tuesday and put out a written statement. I mean, he did you know, you see the ballroom and Mar Lago is full of people. And Biden didn’t do anything. I it’s a failure to communicate. I love that movie. That’s from Cool Hand Luke. By the way, Zachary, you’re much too young to know that movie reference. You’re one of the youngest participants on here.
This is gonna be one of the
Have you first times voting if not your first time for President? How does this make you feel, though it’s my first time going for President. But I would care. I wouldn’t care if they were 80 year olds that cared about what myself as a 20 year olds were. But neither one of them wants to touch Social Security, Medicare, really attack climate change in the way the easy fix, which is there a common sense approach all of energy approach? They’re just too out of touch with young voters.
Elena, you’ve had your hand up? Can you explain your alienation from the political process?
I’m not alienated. I’m angry. I’m angry because both political parties have created the system that we have today. Both of them equally. We have most like in our, in my state in Rhode Island. Really, it’s basically the Democrats gonna win, because everything’s Democrat here, okay? Unless a third party candidate really gets movement. I know no labels is gonna put somebody up. And I’m really praying that it’s somebody really dynamic, and it speaks to the reality of what’s going on in America today. I think Biden really can’t speak, you know, and Trump is talking like he wants to get rid of the Constitution and become a dictator here. You’re frustrated and angry and upset, and you’re trying to vocalize Why do you feel this way? And even with my daughter, I’m telling her, you have to vote and then I process I don’t even know who I’m voting for. So how can I speak to the younger generation and say, You need to vote when I’m over here wondering who am I voting for? Because no one is actually speaking to me. No one is, you know, having my best interests at heart. So we’re frustrated. Frank, I’m not mad. I’m, I’m honestly disappointed not to sound like my father. But these are supposed to be the leaders of our country. And I feel like they spend more time of proving what the other side did wrong than trying to do anything, right. Yeah. And constantly, it’s your turn on the news. Oh, Biden and his son and everything that’s going on with him. Oh, Trump, he’s on trial. I’m sorry, the economy is trash. That’s, that’s how my bank account is. But instead, we’re gonna spend eight months campaigning on what the other person did wrong instead of what you’re actually going to do for me. Yep. Maria, I want to follow up Rachel has to say and Christine, because I feel like they gaslight us, I feel like they don’t want to cooperate, and they want to be very punitive to one another. And to us. Ultimately, we’re the ones suffering because they want to harm us. It just doesn’t feel right anymore. They behave like children. It’s just ridiculous. It has nothing to do with what we need for the future than just bickering and acute. In my opinion, the issue is more valuable as an argument that anything to ever solve. They just want to keep rolling it out every election season. The biggest thing I have a 18 year old in this is our first election goes that. I really feel like this is like Little Man Syndrome. I’m watching on TV. I go she goes I don’t know who to vote for. And it’s like, what guidance can you give me? And I’m like, I can’t I’m in the same boat. I don’t know what to do. Yeah. Well, it’s frustrating to me, because we don’t have a single candidate who is honest, disconnected from his own ego. Is policy focused and his putting country and constitution ahead of party and themself. Yep.
Positive that we can move forward. In a good direction.
100% Yeah, they’re all owned by the caucus, they do what they’re told, you know, it’s just absurd, right? And I just want to see some one create real change. I’m an educator and I have so many colleagues that can’t even afford to live. And they’re over here fighting with each other over nonsense. And we could care less about that when we could barely afford where we’re living eaten taking care of ourselves. So right now we have other things we’re worried about. Is there any one issue that is going to make a difference to you when you make that final decision when you’re walking into the ballot box, and you’re making your choice? And you’re undecided now, what’s the one issue that’s going to affect your decision? Once again? Anyone here? It can be specific brandy? Um,
Mark markeesha hit the nail on the head. I’m also in education. I’m a speech pathologist.
I’m in Chicago, Florida is not much cheaper. Um, you can’t you can’t afford to live like this is this integration of becoming Hold on? It’s not the economy then it’s affordability, affordability, but like more like inflation like when like i You can’t go to the grocery store. If you are lucky. If you spot
100 hours. Lucky. Not that I mean, that’s, I mean, it’s just it’s insanity gas prices are was doing again, it’s insanity like this is ridiculous to me somebody else what’s what’s the issue that will decide your vote keep?
Yeah for me it’s constitutional fidelity Biden did an executive order that he admitted was unconstitutional but it would take time to be sued out of it. Trump basically tried to overthrow the government. So between the two of them, I don’t see anyone who’s rooted in the Constitution and protecting it. True. I think it’s not really an issue that anybody’s been talking about outward. But the Supreme Court, I’m very worried if Trump gets elected, there’s two Supreme Court justices that want to leave, and they’re old.
And they’re, we would have, you know, we’d have another lips. Conservatives. Yeah. Piggybacking on you. I’m about women’s health, obviously, in California. It’s not hasn’t affected me, but I feel like I still have to be the voice for those that it has affected. And yeah, it starts with Trump and the supreme judges. Yeah. And I’d like to say to with what everyone is saying, I don’t hear a candidate saying I actually care about you, the American, I really care about your well being. And America First, we’re going to protect our interests and not think outside the borders here. I really want to protect the Constitution protect this country. I haven’t heard that. Trump Trump tells his group, he loves them. Yeah, but he doesn’t group you know, my biggest issue is the national debt, which goes with Social Security, and that’s going to affect my future. And most everybody’s future, and it’s not going to be fixed. either candidate. That’s what I I tell my students, I am a government teacher. So that I’m this is crazy, but I tell them, so security, the baby boomers are retired, there’s gonna be nothing left. We need to fix this problem. Now.
I feel like we’re constantly spending billions and trillions. And they just every week, there’s some new thing that they’re going to spend money on. I’m like, Stop, oh, my God, you know, just too much spending everywhere.
I’m worried about what the United States looks like on a world stage effort like the United States typically leads, I have an American History degree, I feel like when the United States is strong, the world kind of follows suits, or follow suit whether the world intends to or not. And so I feel like under Trump’s presidency, we were all very combative, and it was all very aggressive, for better or for worse. And under Biden, everyone’s just very complacent. So I’m 100%, listening, waiting for someone to speak to me, they are losing the black vote their democratic party at an alarming rate, because they’re not speaking to me, the Republican Party isn’t speaking to me. So I fall somewhere in the middle. And there are tons of us that are falling in the middle waiting to hear what you will do for us. Entrepreneurs, always the two candidates are waiting to hear from you. What’s the issue that move you
have multiple but the main one for me is foreign policy. I think we’re spending way too much time and money outside focusing on other wars and other countries where we can use that money here in the country. I need half a dozen you to explain why you’re so scared that it’s Joe Biden and Donald Trump. What damage could they do? Logan, I’m going to start with you. And then Paul, go to you. You’ve already seen it. You We had four years of Trump and look what that got us. And now we’ve seen four years of Biden and look at where that’s got us. I can’t be optimistic about these two choices when I’ve seen what both of them can provide. It’s just not there. All you know, very similar to Logan, I think that a lot of us have been disappointed either candidates for the last eight years. And we just read this I want to see a candidate who does more to unify all of us and restore faith in our institutions rather than the two candidates that we have. Sarah, you’re nodding so hard, your heads gonna fall off one so much. I 100% agree with Paul. We need unification. We need support. We need love. We need good things. And I just feel like they’re going to be self serving their own interests and they’re going to make things worse. Zack, what are you so afraid of with these two candidates? We have one candidate that is willing to destroy democracy in our institutions for themselves and another that is not helping us prevent a potential World War and, and defend our democracy as well overseas.
Rachel, how would you answer that question? What frightens you so much about these two candidates? I feel like when Trump was elected he undid everything
vomited. And when Biden was elected he ever done did everything Trump did. And then they start running for president. Again, by the time they’re done with that, I feel like there’s never any moving forward, we just keep tearing the house down and trying to rebuild it our way. And then we restart every four years, we restart every four years, instead of finding some type of compromises, finding some type of way that the country can move forward on any of these issues. There’s gotta be a middle.
Because I wasn’t thinking of it before. But let’s talk about the vice presidential nominee, we know who it is from Joe Biden, we have no idea who it is for Donald Trump, by a show of hands, who says Trump’s nominee for Vice President is going to have a determinant impact on who you vote for?
It’s gonna have Okay, I need to know why. So let’s go guy, Brandy, Paul and Rachel.
Like, it’s been said before, both are old men, they could stroke out tomorrow, we need to know who’s going to take the reins.
Randy? Exactly. Um, I don’t feel confident with
either of them as it is now. And I don’t feel confident with the current vice president. So
I, you know, I’m just, it’s got, we need somebody that if something were to happen, either candidate that we know, we would actually be in better hands than we are now. Oh, you know, I was actually really big fan of Nikki Haley. And should trump nominate Nikki Haley to be VP? I would take a second look, because I think you need someone who could stand up to such a strong personality like Trump in order to make better decisions at the end of the day. Yeah, Rachel, I think for both candidates, their vice president show what the future of that party may be. And as someone that doesn’t affiliate with either party, I think that really shows me what’s going to be next. And along with the age factor for both of them, but also Trump is on trial in multiple states. And so if he’s elected, and he’s been convicted, what does that mean, constitutionally. And so I think the VPS is important as ever, not just for the President, but for the future. Anybody else?
Yeah, I’m gonna say from the Democratic side of the aisle, Kamala is the VP nominee or VP, but if they do change, somehow, I don’t know how somebody else I might give it a second look for democratic.
That’s interesting to me that
that you don’t want her Why don’t you want her? He is she hasn’t been an active. Good. As you said. I think Elena said that she hasn’t been vocal. She hasn’t you don’t see her leading? Right. Is she a good leader? We haven’t had a chance to see that. She’s
hands. Hold on. Let’s see by show of hands. How many of you say she’s a plus that Kamala Harris has a plus two Joe Biden? Raise your hands?
We have one hand going up two hands up. How many thinks she’s a minus? Raise your hands?
Almost everybody. So I’ll give you the chance reader. Why is she a plus?
D is a plus. Because as of now, she seems to be holding it together. I’m not saying she’s doing much. But she’s always covering providing having his back accordingly. So for me, I wouldn’t be okay. If she became president. And 20. Other why she a plus? Because she helped me get elected.
I mean, that was it. He wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for her. So she I think I think he I think he’s using that political base for that. She and I were in college together. So I, I mean, she she is what she is what you see now. And I just think that she used her to get into the office.
Okay, that’s such an interesting phrase. She is what you see now. Okay, Christine, what do you see in her now?
Not much. Because whenever you see anything, I mean, they might be just showing it badly for more ratings, but she’s always like some weird haiku gibberish all the time, and then a giggle. And I’m like, What is all of this? I would just rather have some straightforward kind of stuff. And you know, she knows about law and maybe they can ever talk about, you know, when she’s a lawyer doing all these things. Instead of sitting with kids stage kids talking about space. It’s just it’s ridiculous. Zachary is the youngest person in the zoom. What do you see in her?
I said that she was a minus to the campaign. I think there’s way better people that could have been his vice president. And he did it for, as
Twyla said, to check the box to get better election odds in 2020. And there was other people that also checked those boxes that could have been way better as a lead
You’re and I cannot see her as being an effective president. Tyler, your answer.
He has a negative to Biden’s administration.
Given her I don’t know what I’m seeing her stumper and speeches, it seems somewhat insincere or somewhat nonsensical at times. I feel like that’s administration’s communication policy, but also, her time, I believe, as Attorney General. With her stance on marijuana and the arrest records there and what she’s done. For from a criminal background perspective. It shows a little bit of a flip flop on the political front.
Erin, and then Sarah.
She’s a poor public speaker, which is strange to me, but she doesn’t inspire confidence whenever I’ve seen her.
When when she was running for president, I remember listening to her on one of the morning news shows I didn’t see her on TV, but I heard her and I was just like, what did she just say? So even then I wasn’t going to vote for her. So she’s proving me right that she doesn’t make sense when she talks. If you have a recommendation for Donald Trump or vice president, raise your hands. I’m gonna call on you, Logan, who do you recommend and why?
I think it’s a long shot. But Adam Kinzinger he’s a stable voice. And he I feel like is a unifier. Okay, I’m not supposed to do this, but there is no way in hell that Donald Trump is choosing
from Iowa, who do you recommend? I’d recommend Nikki Haley. I think she would do well with the independence.
I don’t think he would ever pick her but I would recommend her. Well, I live in Texas.
I used to be from Maryland. So I’m going to say larry hogan. He is a statesman. He was the head of all of the governors. He elected a black lieutenant governor. His voting he did not do five he did not do bipartisan voting. He voted for the people of Maryland. He’s an all out, good guy. If he would have run for president, he will beat Donald Trump. And when he did for COVID in Maryland, nobody knew about it because he was very low key about, but definitely Larry Hogan, Zachary from Kentucky. I would recommend that he picked Nikki Haley as his vice president. I mean, I would have voted for her for president. And it’s not going to pull me over the line to vote for him. But I’m sure some people will
call from New York. I said, I’d like Nikki Haley. But if I had one person, I’d say Mark Cuban because it highlights Donald Trump’s outsider business minded experience. He has an executive experience. I do think that he is not afraid to be a contrarian voice to the Trump administration. Should they get elected? And I think it’d be a fantastic vice president pick. Rachel, what advice would you give Trump and Biden.
So avoid using I statements and start using the statements of, you know, I hear from you, so to speak, and really utilizing what the people are saying, because we don’t care about the scandals and the conflicts. We care about what’s happening in our day to day life. Oh, your advice for Trump and Biden? Drop out of the country, like all of us don’t want you to be president again. Drop out.
Sarah, I was by the way, I was not expecting that. Sarah, what advice would you give? That’s exactly what I was gonna say. Don’t run, step aside. give other people a chance. You gotta get each other’s numbers. Okay.
We’re both New Yorkers live in New Yorkers. Yeah.
Ronnie Byrd advice would you give the two candidates? I would tell Biden talk about your successes. Really? Tell us your successes and Trump hit the bricks.
Randy, what advice would you give them? I was actually gonna say like, listen to what we want. But I actually liked the two new yorkers responses better.
They should not run.
It’s called forget about it.
Pretty much. Now I’m watching an episode of The Sopranos. What advice would you give the two candidates Trump and Biden
take care of home first period?
I was gonna say choose more moderate vice presidents. But I like the drop out answer because vice presidents aren’t going to make them any better. I’ve never heard so many bodily functions associated with politics, but that’s who we are. And that’s where we are as election 2024 rapidly approaches. Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have. So on behalf of everyone here at America speaks right here on straight Oh News. Thanks for listening.

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