Eisenhower Institute Cardin Fellow of Public Policy Jennifer Donahue wrote an Oct. 31 Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed on undecided voters. Donahue said undecided voters will ultimately choose the presidential candidate they trust more when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
From the Inquirer:
Key voters will go with their guts
By Jennifer Donahue
President Obama and Mitt Romney have made their cases to the American public through grueling daily campaign events, three televised debates, and the conventions. The result is a tie, and voters on the left and right won't break it.
That will fall to a small group of people who don't vote regularly, but will be moved to head to the polls next week. This race will likely be decided by a fence-sitting 5 percent of the electorate in just nine swing states.
The key to these undecided voters' late-breaking decisions - and the election - won't be the campaign promises the candidates have made. It will be to what extent they trust each candidate to carry out his promises.
These voters won't be swayed by complex policy positions. Ultimately, they will vote for the man they trust more - the one they feel has made the better case that he can govern with integrity. Among independents, this is often seen as the best hope for breaking the gridlock in Washington.
At this point, the trust question seems to favor Romney slightly. Asked whom they trust on the economy, voters narrowly prefer him in the latest results from the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll. This is important because it's partly a question of "trust." The poll also shows independents preferring Romney.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center." The undecided voters are those in the center. They will be seeking the kind of centrist leader Eisenhower was - someone who can end this period of incredible political polarization.
Distrust between the parties has led to an angry and confused electorate. Whether or not they recall Eisenhower, the voters who will decide this race will intuitively prefer the candidate they trust to end the gridlock.
Read the full story here.
Donahue is the Cardin Fellow of Public Policy and an expert in residence at Gettysburg College’s Eisenhower Institute.
A political analyst and former journalist, Donahue is an expert in national and New Hampshire politics. She regularly provides live political commentary on MSNBC’s Hardball, CNN’s American Morning and Anderson Cooper 360.
She appears frequently on ABC’s World News Tonight and Nightline, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News.
A graduate of Cornell University, Donahue is often quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, USA Today, and The Boston Globe. She is a featured contributor for The Huffington Post, and provides commentary for numerous radio networks, including National Public Radio.
Donahue has covered every presidential race since 1992. She is the former political director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, served as a press secretary for a United States Senator, and worked for C-SPAN and CNN. Donahue previously taught at Harvard University, where she was a resident fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics, and Suffolk University.
Donahue leads EI’s Women In Leadership, a semester-long mentoring and research experience where Gettysburg students gain a better understanding of the intersection of gender, politics, and leadership while learning about the evolution of women leaders. The experience includes travel to Washington, D.C. for meetings and networking sessions and culminates in students presenting research projects.
About the Eisenhower Institute
The Eisenhower Institute is a distinctive program of Gettysburg College with offices in Washington, D.C. and on the campus of Gettysburg College. The Eisenhower Institute exposes undergraduate students to top-level dialogue among policymakers and fosters fact-based discourse on issues of critical concern to the nation. Through its Eisenhower Undergraduate Fellows program it also promotes leadership development for competitively selected students. For more information, visit eisenhowerinstitute.org.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803