I pay attention to both sides, and by both I mean the republican-conservative side and the democrat-liberal side. These two are the largest powerbrokers going in by a wide margin, and though I would love to see a third party actually make some headway, it is an unrealistic expectation.
This election more than any other I can remember has the largest disconnect of ideas that I can remember. There are no real defining issues; each side has it's own take on things, and they aren't so much opposite ideas as apples and oranges.
Take the war in Iraq. Both sides really agree that we should be ending the war in a responsible fashion. Both sides want an end to the war. It's the details of what constitutes a "responsible fashion" in which they differ. Liberals tend to favor a more aggressive pullout schedule, where conservatives tend to feel the need to maintain troops there longer. While I am not a fan of war by any means, I agree that we can't just pull out our troops and infrastructure immediately.
Both sides know there is a need to do something to strengthen the economy. The details of what actions to take are where they differ, and differ wildly. Frankly, neither party has the lock on a solution, and we're gonna be in for a rough ride no matter what.
Abortion, women's rights, the right to life, definitions of what constitutes a viable human being, stem cell research, intelligent design... all of these things are tied up in this wonderful thing which I'll label as Ethics & Morality. This seems to be the biggest overall category of discontinuity.
On one hand, the conservatives tend to be more moral absolutists. There is a larger visible base of moral absolutists of the judeo-christian flavor among conservatives than among liberals, who tend to favor moral relativism. It's an interesting differentiation: most of the moral absolutists that I've had to deal with are not exactly open to discussion-- there is God's law, and God's law trumps Man's law.
Moral relativists are more in belief that what was written by men as God's law is simply Man's law from another time, and doesn't necessarily apply to modern times and modern situations.
Truthfully, most people believe in some mix, in a fashion that there is a continuum between moral absolutes and relatives, and this mix is a pretty dynamic and personal thing. Most people will say that it's morally wrong to kill, yet most people also believe that there are morally justifiable reasons to kill. What differs are the reasons and the judgement of morality of those reasons.
I make no bones that I am anything but a moral relativist. I don't believe that there are any moral absolutes, and that morality is as individual as hairstyle. That is not an inconsiderate decision, and it took years of study to get to that place, but it's the decision that best fits the knowledge and experience that I have.
I don't look askance at those who are religious. To me, spirituality is a personal thing, and your beliefs and faith are yours to exercise. All is well until your beliefs and faith start interfering with my own beliefs and faith, where your moral rigidity starts encroaching on my own.
That is the issue that I have when politics and religion start to mix. Theocracies have never had much of a track record for human rights abuses, and I've never been a proponent of torturing or killing people in the name of a god, prophet, or pinball machine, much less whether god wears green or purple on saturday.
But killing people isn't the same thing as keeping a couple from getting married, or not dispensing birth control, or trying to force intelligent design as a scientific curriculum.