Undecided S.C. voter "fed up" with onslaught of campaign material

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. -- If you're a Republican in South Carolina, you can't avoid phone calls from presidential campaigns, which can be as many as five to six a day, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. You can't avoid campaign mailers either, five or six a day. Then there are the people who knock on your front door -- not five or six times, but enough to be annoying.

Tommy Harken is an undecided Republican who welcomed CBS News into his kitchen to get a taste of the political mail he receives in one day. That's in addition to the phone calls he receives.

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CBS News' Major Garrett with South Carolinian Tommy Harken CBS News

"Neither Kasich or Rubio are strong enough on vital Second Amendment issues," one robocall from Right to Life USA said.

"Can we trust Donald Trump to stand up for our Second Amendment rights?" another robocall from Our Principles PAC said.

"Hello. Aren't you tired of leaders like Marco Rubio...?" a call from South Carolina Conservative Renewal PAC said in Spanish. ("Hola ¿No estás cansado de líderes como Marco Rubio...?")

That last call left Harken a bit confused.

"I can't tell you if it was for or against Rubio. All I could understand was Rubio," Harken said.

By phone, by mail and on TV, politics is unavoidable, and Harken told CBS News he feels inundated.

"I think after a while they start to have almost a negative effect. You get so much of it ... you don't know what to believe on 'em because so many of them are negative," Harken said.

Harken said he and his friends are getting worn down and worn out. But political pros say this repetitive outreach pays off.

"All those mediums have effect on persuasion, and when 1 in 8 Republican primary voters are still undecided in who they are going to vote for, the advertising that voters receive is going to have an impact," GOPAC chairman David Avella said.

Harken told CBS News he doesn't even read the mailers or take the phone calls anymore, but campaigns cannot afford not to try.

‎"Maybe the mail piece that a voter receives today doesn't persuade them, but the one they receive tomorrow does. ... Advertising works. It's why businesses do it. It's why candidates do it," Avella said.

Harken isn't so sure. He just knows this about his family and his equally besieged Republican friends:

"Everybody, my friends at least, we talk about it, hear about it, are gettin' fed up with it, gettin' tired of it," Harken said.

There is a method to what strikes Harken as madness: At some point he and other undecided Republicans are going to make up their minds. In hard-fought races, campaigns want to be the last word a voter sees or hears before casting a ballot because that word could make a big difference.