It's hard to believe, but even as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney kick their campaigns into overdrive, around seven percent of likely voters remain undecided about how they will cast their ballot come November.
So what's on the minds of these still skeptical Americans, whom both sides wish to woo?
A new poll of more than 1,000 voters conducted by Yale University and George Mason University found that the majority of these undecided voters rank the candidates' positions on climate change amongst some the most important issues that will help guide their vote.
Interestingly, the study also found that when it comes to energy and environment issues, the views of the undecided voters are much more closely aligned with likely Obama voters than likely Romney voters.
For example, the poll found that 80 percent of undecided voters believe that climate change is happening, which lines up pretty well with Obama supporters at 86 percent, but less well with Romney supporters — only 45 percent of whom believe that global warming is real.
Additionally, 65 percent of both likely Obama voters and undecided voters think that global warming is caused by humans, but only 27 percent of likely Romney voters share this view — despite the near consensus on the matter among the scientific community.
The majority — 64 percent — of undecided voters also want Obama to take more action to combat climate change. And a whopping 72 percent of the undecided vote say Congress should be doing more on the issue.
High profile green groups like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters couldn't agree more. They have repeatedly called the current Congress the most anti-environmental Congress in recent history.
Despite this, only 35 percent of likely Romney voters think the President or Congress should take more action to address climate change.
For his part, Romney firmly opposes cap-and-trade legislation and is determined to end the tax credit for the wind energy industry. He also does not believe that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act.
As a take-away message for candidates, the poll also reveals that over half of all voters, across the political spectrum, say they need more information about climate change issues, a powerful reminder in an election season where the economy has taken center stage and encouraging support for green groups who are petitioning for the issue to be included in the upcoming Presidential debates.
More on the environment and the 2012 elections:
Joanna Foster is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. Her background is in ecology and evolutionary biology, and having always lived near water—be it Lake Michigan, the Indian Ocean or the North Sea—she is passionate about the conservation and restoration of this most precious resource. She is a regular contributer at the Energy and Environment blog at The New York Times, and her work has also appeared in OnEarth Magazine and at the American Museum of Natural History. TakePart.com