For five of the past six weekends, I have been going door-to-door for my candidate of choice. When I knock on voters’ doors, the first question I ask is, “Have you decided who you will be supporting on November 4th?” To my surprise, many voters remain undecided. As late as Saturday, two of the 25 voters I spoke with were undecided. For those of us who are out knocking on doors, emptying our wallets, and losing sleep, this may seem unbelievable. But it is real.
Some of you may be wondering, “How can anyone be undecided at this point?” The undecided voters I have spoken with have given many reasons. Here are a few that I have heard multiple times.
- Cynicism – Some voters see the choice between candidates as the lesser of two evils. These voters often mention how many campaign promises end up being broken. They tend not to trust politicians in general.
- Political identity is shifting – I have most often seen this among traditionally Republican voters who are upset with the way the Republican Party has been running this country for the past eight years. The economic crisis, two ongoing wars, and record deficit spending are on these voters’ minds. These voters have supported a political party that they are increasingly convinced is undermining our beloved country
- Legitimate concerns about both candidates – Many voters I have spoken with have expressed misgivings about both candidates that many die-hard supporters conveniently overlook. Whether some people want to admit it or not, all of the candidates running for President are real people with real flaws. These voters are different from the cynical voters because they genuinely believe that their vote matters and that politics can be positive; they just are not satisfied with their choices.
In addition to these perspectives, I have heard undecided voters speak about the limitations of the two party system, issues overlooked by the candidates, and the potential imbalance of power between Congress and the Administration.
In my opinion, all of these concerns are legitimate reasons to deliberate. But in the end, you either vote for someone or you do not vote at all. After patiently listening to undecided voters for the past six weeks, I am relieved that their time is up. By the end of tomorrow there will be no such thing as an undecided voter.
Tomorrow, each of the persons I spoke with, and millions more, will all be using that great equalizer: our one vote. It is a little terrifying, a little exciting, and completely real. I know many of you may have trouble sleeping tonight. Maybe this will help you rest: Of the hundreds of voters I have spoken to, only one said they have not really been following this election. This country is engaged. This country cares. This country is weighing its choices… carefully.