The Economist covered Colorado in one of their recent swing state analyses. When I read in their analysis that Coloradans “express little interest in a campaign that is very interested in them”, I did a double take. Perhaps that is true for some people in Colorado, but it is surely not true in my demographic. I take offense to the comment, because it implies that undecided voters are flaky or disinterested.
Colorado really is a swing state, not only because it is a tight race, but because votes really are still up for grabs. I can personally vouch for that. Several of my close friends are still undecided, within two weeks of the election.
I will admit that this undecided demographic I speak of is pretty narrow – primarily professional women with advanced degrees in the top 5%, if not 1%, of income earners. The males in my life seem to be more “decided”, but my conclusions still hold true for them. With those caveats, I’ve noticed some interesting themes during this election that seem different than previous elections.
The conversations I’ve had with these undecided voters actually make me optimistic, amidst a lot to be frustrated about in this whole election process. Why?
- People are taking the decision very seriously, believing that who we choose as a country will matter and that their vote specifically counts
- People are focused on which problems we need to solve and who has better strategies to address those problems (versus which candidate is more likable or which party is most aligned with their specific issue)
As an undecided voter myself, I am grateful to be able to have these conversations without feeling like people are trying to convince me (or themselves) of the choice they’ve already made.
It occurred to me yesterday how rare this kind of discussion is in corporate America. It is unusual to find people passionate about certain topics or issues, but also open minded to the solutions. Unfortunately, passion usually comes with positions. I think companies (and our world) would be a much better place if we all focused on framing problems before trying to convince people of solutions. There’s a lot of value to these “undecided voters” and we’d be better off with more of them.