The end of the 2012 campaign is giving greater attention than ever to the term "sporadic voters" or the more insidery "sporadics."
In the words of Democrats, the sporadic voter is one who doesn't vote in three of the past three elections. He or she picks and chooses, maybe shows up for a presidential race. So a 0 voter (0 votes in 3 elections) voter is highly sporadic. A 3 (one who votes in 3 elections straight) is highly reliable and not sporadic at all.
Consider: many national, and a few state polls, show that Obama is losing to Romney in surveys of likely voters (the screen to determine likely voters varies by pollster). But Obama often wins with straight-up registered voters, those who can vote but may or may not.
Democrats say they're winning the sporadics, getting them to turn out in early voting in Florida. They're 0s over Republicans 43-29% and 1s by 47-30% (click the image to see the data, click here for more on early ballots cast). Democrats say that gives them an edge because they're banking unlikely votes early, allowing them to hold their own as they turn out likely voters. We haven't asked the Republicans, but chances are they'll disagree (if anything, because of the you-choose-A-I-choose-B game theory of campaigning)
The strategy of team Obama yields two takeaways: 1) it sure knows how to mine data 2) the president has a narrow path to win when he needs to rely on unlikely voters.