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Undecided voters not so undecided

People may sometimes make up their minds without knowing it

By
1:01pm, August 21, 2008

These days, you can’t even trust undecided people. Individuals who honestly believe that they can’t choose between two available options may in fact already know what to do, thanks to attitudes that lurk outside their awareness, a new study indicates.

Rapid mental associations made by individuals who were undecided on a controversial political issue frequently predicted opinions these people later formed on that issue, psychologist Bertram Gawronski of Canada’s University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, and his colleagues report in the Aug. 22 Science.

“One could say that people sometimes have already made up their minds, even though they do not know it yet,” Gawronski says.

“Political pollsters might learn that there are some questions better left unasked,” remarks psychologist Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The new findings suggest that pollsters should be skeptical of

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