Lazarsfeld thought you could make a pretty good prediction about how someone would vote if you knew about certain demographic markers — income, occupation, religion, urban or small town, etc. Often, these characteristics tended to cluster, especially in the 1940s with the dominance of the Roosevelt coalition. But what about the person who belonged to groups that pulled in different ways — the small-town Protestant (Republican pressure) who had a blue-collar union job (Democratic pressure)? Lazarsfeld’s answer was that these voters tend make up their minds later in the campaign, and sometimes they resolve their conflict by just not voting at all.
Obviously, the Republican leadership is worried about these pressures and about the response that Lazarsfeld would predict — staying home on election day. From the top of party on down, GOP professionals are trying to make sure that their traditional voters come out. It’s not about converting Democrats or persuading the Independents and undecided. It’s about making sure that the hard core keep the faith, that they do not give in to cross pressures and just avoid the voting booth.