February 5th, 2008
04:17 PM ET
7 years ago

Cafferty: Issues vs. character?

The economy. The war in Iraq. Health care. Immigration. Terrorism. Those are the issues on the minds of Americans as they cast ballots on this Super Tuesday. But the issues are not “the issue” this election day.

The Wall Street Journal reports that voters are placing a higher priority on intangible qualities like leadership ability and governing style instead of ideas. It seems to be a reflection on the country's mood at the moment: people are sick and tired of the partisan wars and gridlock in Washington and are looking for someone to rise above it and lead. This is part of the reason why candidates like Barack Obama and John McCain are doing so well.

The Journal says: "To many voters, precisely what gets done seems less important than the prospect that something actually will get done."

One pollster on the Democratic side says there's been no correlation in exit polls between the issues people say are important and the candidate they vote for. As for the Republicans, a recent poll found that the characteristic on which McCain – who's now the front-runner – ranked the lowest was "shares your position on issues".

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