CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Only a tiny fraction of voters remain undecided about which nominee they'll choose for president. Nearly all Americans already know how they'll vote on Nov. 6. That's because most concerned adults have worldviews shaping their values and locking them firmly into Democratic or Republican principles, long-term, election after election.
"Polling experts say that true swing voters are only 3 to 5 percent of the electorate, which means that the vast majority of Americans are unwilling to move," Presbyterian minister Henry Brinton wrote in USA Today. "A high percentage of us will not change our votes between now and Election Day, despite the estimated $2.5 billion that will be spent in an attempt to influence us."
Incredible -- $2.5 billion is being squandered in an effort to flip perhaps 4 percent of voters, while the other 96 percent of politically active Americans can't be budged, because their minds already are made up. The ferocious campaign raging day after day is mostly pointless, a sound and fury of wasted energy.
This conclusion is supported by a Washington Monthly report saying presidential debates are watched by millions of politically aware Americans -- but researchers find no evidence that the debates change people's minds.
So, the barrage of slanted, self-serving, political "attack ads" dominating TV channels must be endured for another month -- even though those spots won't sway 96 percent of viewers. Thank heaven for the "mute" button.
Worst of all, a dismaying segment of Americans won't even bother helping to choose their next leaders. They care so little about America that they won't go to the polls.
In late August, a national survey concluded that 90 million U.S. adults will ignore the Nov. 6 election. This apathetic group tends to prefer President Obama by a two-to-one margin -- but they're too vague, indifferent and uninformed to cast ballots. More than 60 percent of them didn't know that Joe Biden is vice president.
In the crucial 2000 election, only 54 percent of registered Americans went to the polls. And the 2008 election was shrugged off by 80 million eligible voters. How can so many be uninterested in their nation's policies and future?
We're among the 96 percent with firm beliefs about our vision for America. We think the middle class and average families are best served by the Democratic Party -- in contrast to the GOP, which chiefly serves the wealthy, fundamentalists and military hawks.
When ballots are counted on election night, we hope most Americans share that view.