Calling the Undecideds

I’m not gonna lie to you folks: I’m am less likely to be voting for Mitt Romney come November than I am to be leaving my wife to shack up with a wise-cracking turtle named Laverne (and I’m really not gonna do that). I don’t imagine this will come as a surprise. Likewise, I know some of you are less likely to vote for President Obama than you are to get hit by lightning the same moment you win the lottery. For us, the presidential election might as well happen today.

But rumor has it there are some people who are genuinely still undecided about who they will vote for come November — whether to cast their vote for Obama, Romney or some other candidate still hustling about on the political periphery.

If you are one of these folks — I mean, really one of these folks, not just affecting a pose of being undecided at this point so you can pretend to be soberly impartial about the presidential candidates while espousing a political agenda that leaves no actual doubt as to how you will vote (and yes, everyone else can tell, because none of us are stupid) — would you mind sounding off in the comment thread?

Specifically I’m interested in knowing why it is you find yourself undecided at this point and what you are hoping to find out, either about the candidates or the nation (or both) before you make your final choice for Romney, Obama or someone else. I am genuinely curious, and I think it would be instructive for those of us who already have a strong opinion regarding our presidential choices (or at the very least, who we are not going to vote for among the two major candidates) why you are still mulling your choices. Please share with us your thoughts.

Incidentally, this means that the comment thread to this entry is only for people who are currently and genuinely undecided at this point — please don’t comment otherwise, including to argue with these undecided folks for the reasons that they are undecided and/or to try to sway them to your favorite candidate, whomever that may be. This isn’t a debating thread, it’s a place for folks to share where they are at in terms of their choices.

(And again, don’t post if you’re just pretending to not know who you’re going to vote for in order to read off a bunch of talking point cue cards. This will be obvious to the rest of us, embarrassing for you, and of course liable for Malleting.)

So: Who is undecided, president-wise?

99 thoughts on “Calling the Undecideds

  1. I’m not undecided. I just have decided that no matter who I vote for, I’m not going to be happy with my choice. Neither candidate talks straight and keeps promises. So not so much undecided as “increasingly frustrated while independent”.

  2. Well, here’s the thing. For me, it all hinges on whether or not the nation is actually in significant danger of bankruptcy. If potential bankruptcy is really the major concern with everything else being secondary, then Romney would probably be the better choice. That’s what he has devoted his life to – managing businesses, organizations, and governments that are going down the economic tubes so that they can straighten out their finances and pull themselves together. He is reasonably good at that.

    On the other hand, that seems to be the *only* think he is notably good at. And presidents have to do lots of other things. And Obama currently has shown that he can do all these other things tolerably well (and currently has had some years of experience, which Romney obviously doesn’t).

    So the decision for me comes down to, “Is the US in actual danger of bankruptcy or not?” Some days I think it isn’t, and other days I think maybe it is, and the rest of the time I’m not sure that anybody can actually tell.

  3. I have Multiple Sclerosis. Obamacare prevents my insurance company from screwing me over (and allows me to relatively easily obtain insurance if I change jobs or want to start my own business and need to buy on the open market, pre-existing condition and all). But Anne Romney also has MS, and there’s a part of me that thinks maybe this would matter in a Romney presidency, with respect to curing this thing once and for all. It’s really all about a very personalized, specific, single issue. And selfishness: “What’s best for me”. I can’t think of any philosophical reason why I’d be undecided otherwise.

  4. I am partially undecided, in that I am going to vote against both Obama and Romney. However I have not decided which crackpot I will be voting for or if I will join the popular Bugs Bunny write in campaign. I have no illusions that whoever I vote for will have any chance of winning, but I will have registered my objections and made an attempt to cause change within the system. If I vote for a member of one of the larger crackpot organizations they may have a chance of running more viable candidates in future elections.

  5. Undecided because I am fiscally conservative but socially liberal.
    There ain’t a party for that.
    Both parties make noise about cutting each others pet areas but show little in the way of actually managing spending.

  6. I’m undecided between Obama and Gary Johnson right now. I’d generally call myself a libertarian on social issues and a neo-liberal on economic ones, so there are things I feel strongly about that tug me in different ways on the issue.

    Johnson is wrong on a lot of economic issues, but not as wrong your stereotypical Libertarian. He’s willing to say good things about the EPA, for instance. He’s also had actual experience as the governor of a state, and by most accounts did a pretty good job of actually governing. And I agree with him more on social issues than any other candidate, including Ron Paul (who has some unfortunate nativist tenancies).

    As for Obama, well, he’s hasn’t been horrible. I’m disappointed in him with regards to closing Guantanamo, etc. And bombing Libya without even talking to Congress first, and continuing to try to expand the power of the presidency. There are some things about the ACA I like and some I oppose. I was all set to vote for Johnson, but then Obama did his immigration order thing and now I’m not sure again, because that really impressed me.

  7. It does not matter which way you vote. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed. Doomed. (it was worth it)

  8. I didn’t vote for Obama in the last election, but I might vote for him in this one. Here are my reasons.

    1) I like Kathleen Sebelius. As a Kansas resident and a state employee, I know how much good she can do toward getting a decent health care cost plan in place when she has both the power and the authority to get it done. She knows how the insurance business works and gamed the system to get me and my fellow co-workers affordable health care with a wide range of options. I believe in rewarding a job well done with another job.

    2) He failed at being a Magic Wand of Political Power +5. That’s okay. He may not have waved his finger and made all things better, but a least he hasn’t given anyone the bird when he didn’t get his way.

    3) the economy is like the Titanic at full steam – big, heavy, slow to change course and impossible to stop on a dime. That means laws passed in this 4-year administrative cycle don’t actually show up, impact wise, until after the election is done.

    4) The man has shown grace under fire and took responsibility for his actions. Or at least, didn’t try to blame someone else for his failures.

    5) I really hate political mud slinging. That will loose my vote quicker that anything except lying about your past performance. Romney will attack and sling mud. I’ll be interested in what Obama slings back when he’s the incumbent and not some hopeful in a political melee or one-on-one brawl.

    So, even though I want to keep Sebelius in office, and don’t blame him for his predecessor’s decisions, I won’t vote for Obama if he turns into a mud-slinging ass trying to get a vote, any vote.

  9. What Kev G. said. I agree with neither side and will decide at some point when it gets closer as to which side I will vote for. Since I already know which side my state is going to lean towards, I feel more need to determine local issues first.

  10. I am undecided in the sense of still looking for a third party candidate who has a platform most similar to my views. I am extremely disillusioned with both major parties, and consider them to be part of a problem rather than of a solution. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic party has a viable vision or a realistic plan on how to deal with the challenges facing the nation, and both are severely lacking in courage to make the right choices, and the integrity to follow through with them. As such, I expect to do the only thing my conscience would allow, which is to find a candidate outside of the major two parties with a platform I find mostly agreeable, and to cast my vote accordingly. The “undecided” part comes from not yet deciding who that candidate would be.

  11. The two major issues that are keeping me from deciding are Universal Healthcare and Immigration. The economy is a mess and neither seems to be able to fix that from the oval office, though the national debt scares me to death.

    I like some of the provisions of Universal Healthcare are long passed due, but forcing people into buying healthcare and increasing spending to subsidize the people who can’t afford it seems wrong. I am reading everything I can get my hands on trying to see which side of the fence I will decide to be on. So far I am leaning towards Obama on this, but haven’t decided. A blanket repeal of the law seems overdone since there are good parts to the law.

    On Immigration, I think that Obama’s latest is a cop out and a ploy to woo the Latino voters. Is it realistic to deport all illegal immigrants, probably not. Is it right to just grant amnesty to people who have broken the law (I realize there are a lot of reasons people would do this) and are benefiting from social programs that they don’t pay into and are entitled to? No, I don’t. There are legal ways to enter the country to work. States are being bankrupt by undocumented people that pay no taxes and still use free services like healthcare and education. This issue would lean me towards Romney if he would ever actually speak on the subject rather than at it. This is a major issue and neither candidate wants to touch it for fear of losing voters.

    I’m not sure what needs to happen to sway me to one side. As many before me, any choice you make is the wrong one given the state of affairs in US politics, but men and women fight and die to protect our freedoms and I will definitely be casting my ballot come November.

  12. There are people who are undecided for a different reason. The candidate of the Justice Party wants liberals to vote for him, because there is too little difference between the two major parties today. They all have the same bosses. (There are people on the right who say the same thing).

    The president has great influence in foreign affairs and wars, but I haven’t heard any campaigning saying either president will be different. The president doesn’t make laws, including job bills, but that’s what they are running on.

    The *main* good reason to vote for one of the two major candidates is because the president nominates members of the Supreme Court.

  13. I am canadian, and undecided as to who I WOULD vote for… does that count?

    If I was voting, I’d be voting based on what I think is good for the country – not what I believe would be good for a state, or good for a household. No matter what you think, they are generally NOT the same thing (and your idea of an exception probably doesn’t count, either).

    As an outside observer, I find many americans make this mistake when discussing politics.

  14. What Kev G said. I will probably vote for a 3rd party. If Romney or Obama does something outrageously good or bad from my point of view, I could see voting for or against them. It would be have to be pretty outrageous as I figure there’s not really that much difference between the two when it comes down to what they will actually accomplish.

  15. “…leaving my wife to shack up with a wise-cracking turtle named Laverne…”

    Am I the only one who now desperately wants ABC to put LAVERNE AND SCALZI on Tuesday nights at 8:30?

  16. I agree with Kev G too. I have never voted anything but Republican, but I’m seriously considering voting for Obama this year. I believe in fiscal conservatism but may vote for Obama as a protest against all the open hate and bigotry of the Republican party (thought not necessarily Romney) surrounding gays, women’s rights, and the courting of the fundamental Christians. Plus, I like Obama. I didn’t think I would, but I do. And fiscally conservative or not, I fail to see how universal healthcare has become a party issue…it used to be something that both republicans and democrats believe in theoretically…it was just the how that differed. So I’d like it to stay.

  17. Kev G party as well. Wish there were more choices. Never voted party ticket one way or the other. Always just voted for the person closest to my views. Nobody out there to vote FOR.

  18. @Victoria

    From the way things are shaping up there is going to be a more than a billion dollars spent by third parties on this election. Something like 98% of third party ads are negative. Would you hold the candidates responsible for those ads too? (I don’t have a good answer for this one myself.)

  19. I am undecided between Obama and a third party liberal candidate–most likely GPUS (Jill Stein, not Roseann, thanks). Thanks to the outdated Electoral College mechanism, the fact that I live in Texas means that my vote will have no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election, but it might help boost awareness and percentage of the popular vote, allowing the Greens to participate in a meaningful way in debates and other election shenanigans. That said, Obamacare and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has kept the President in contention for my left-leaning ballot, and I’d like to support further policy decisions in that vein.

  20. Socially I’m a libertarian. Fiscally I’m a pragmatist, which places me closer to conservative than liberal, but only just. But since the GOP isn’t fiscally conservative and hasn’t been since Eisenhower, I won’t be voting for them. On social issues, Romney’s not the worst of the lot by a far stretch, but that’s hardly an endorsement.

    Whether I vote for Obama or cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate will depend on how many of his campaign promises the President shows a willingness to pursue at the possible expense of popularity. Socially, campaign Obama was on the civil libertarian end of the liberal aisle. If he comes back, I’ll vote for him. But the big problems America faces – lobby reform, energy independence, healthcare, tax and spending reform, small-business support – will take bipartisan cooperation that neither party has demonstrated any willingness to undertake. As our political machine grows increasingly extreme in its pandering to fringe zealots, I grow more convinced that any solutions to the big problems will not come from Washington.

    @ Andrew C

    As for Obama, well, he’s hasn’t been horrible. I’m disappointed in him with regards to closing Guantanamo, etc. And bombing Libya without even talking to Congress first, and continuing to try to expand the power of the presidency. There are some things about the ACA I like and some I oppose. I was all set to vote for Johnson, but then Obama did his immigration order thing and now I’m not sure again, because that really impressed me.

    Bingo. And spending the stimulus on the banks that screwed the pooch was throwing good money after bad, but I knew from the beginning that Obama was two economic rungs away from Dubya in mostly the wrong direction. But I also laud the repeal of DADT.

    On the President’s use of Executive power to stop the deportation of children, who are for all intents and purposes Americans, for the crimes of their parents, Orson Scott Card had some excellent advice to Mr. Romney:

    http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2012-06-21-1.html

  21. I want to know if there have been comments malleted already, as I am impressed that Mr. Scalzi has kept this pretty much on track with genuine undecideds.

    And Keith, you are not alone! Laverne and Scalzi sounds great but maybe later at night than 8:30 as the little ones might have awkward questions.

  22. It`s interesting – I didn’t think I’m undecided until I just thought about it, and realize that I technically am. I’m solidly liberal, but so libby that I may vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party depending on how close the state vote polls in November. My state is swing (ing, Baby!).

  23. I’m not sure if I qualify as truly undecided because of the two major candidates, I want President Obama to win. That said, I’m not sure I am going to vote for him. I live in Missouri which seems to have turned a deeper shade of red over the past decade. If I am convinced there is even a chance of Obama carrying Missouri, I’ll vote for him. But, if I am correct and Romney is a dead lock here, I will cast my vote for a third party for two reasons. One, I am far from enchanted by the policies of the Obama administration and would welcome the chance to register a protest vote. The second is that I am disgusted by the hurdles third parties have to jump to get on the ballot and if I can help a third party get enough votes to earn regular party status on the Missouri ballot, I would like to do so.

  24. Being not sure who I’m going to vote for is less of a problem than deciding whether or not I’ll even bother to vote. Neither candidate is bad enough that I need to vote against them, while neither is good enough to warrant a positive vote.
    I don’t like a lot of Romney’s policy. Bigotry enshrined in law is not where I think we need to go. His “repeal obamacare” stand, without even a thought of a replacement, isn’t really something I’m looking at as a positive. I don’t like his positions on abortion, gay rights, taxation and spending priorities, “enhanced interrogation” or many many other things.
    I don’t agree with all of Obama’s policy, but probably more than Romney’s. People need healthcare. We need to be out of Afghanistan, but we need to leave a very robust intelligence gathering apparatus.
    The President doesn’t have power over taxation, commerce, or the economy. The President can’t fix the economy, but they can surely make it worse through just saying the wrong things at the wrong time, and help it by being confident that “we’re on the right course” even if we haven’t really done anything. So in the White House we need, in my opinion, someone who’s a capable leader, who understands what leadership means and how to convince people to do what needs doing.
    Leadership in itself is something I’ve been studying on a lot lately. And it seems to really come down to 2 basic ideas: Making sure to take blame for things that go wrong, while giving credit for things that go right to other people. It’s about having responsibility for your team, really. Harry S Truman had “The Buck Stops Here”. Eisenhower had a lot of really incredible policies and quotations, most famously the D-Day failure note (where he took sole blame for the D-Day invasion failing, written up in advance in case he needed it). Read a Berkshire Hathaway annual report sometime. The 2007 (I think) one had a great quote from Mr Buffet that went like this: “The management at our utility holdings did an outstanding job of anticipating the opportunities of the economic downturn, and they had fantastic, industry leading results this year” followed by “I did a really inadequate job of assessing the difficulties our retail holdings would have with the economic downturn.” He took the blame for the retail group’s issues, while giving credit for the upswing in the utility companies to the management there. And the management, most likely, gave full credit to the employees in their company meetings. That’s how it’s supposed to work. It’s classy, and it’s the right way to do things.
    In all the economic difficulties we’ve had, I’ve only seen Obama do one thing: Blame someone else. He’s never said “I could have done this better”. It’s always been “The previous administration screwed this up so bad!”. That’s not leadership. That’s not demonstrating that you have control of the situation and inspiring confidence. It’s basically saying “The universe is out to get us, there’s nothing we can do.” He’s saying all the wrong things, actively making the problem worse by cedeing control of the situation to past actors. He’s not leading. He’s blaming.
    And yet he was first in line to take credit for killing Osama Bin Laden. Taking full credit for the only thing that’s unequivocally gone right in the administration, while blaming everything that’s gone wrong on someone else is just…slimy. There’s something karmically wrong with taking credit for good things without taking responsibility for any of the bad. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, and it’s just the opposite of good leadership.

  25. I’ve been very interested in this conversation and I wondered if I could ask a follow-up question:

    If you are undecided, where do you get your information and news from? Are there particular channels/shows or websites/blogs that you go to?

  26. @benjb: Typically from Fark.com. There, I said it. Want to know what’s going on in the world without a 2 hour Lindsey Lohan special? Get news from fark. Otherwise, it’s all Lindsey all the time. Except when it’s someone from Jersey Shore. Or Tom Cruise doing something dumb. Or…..

    Fark still covers that stuff, but only once a day, not 48 times in a day.

  27. The issues I care most deeply about relate to foreign policy and America’s place in the world (realistically, not jingoistic “we’re number 1!” stuff). So far this election period no one has spoken much about anything I care deeply about. So I shall remain undecided until I get some impression either way on either one. Echoing a44v589, this may be the year to join the silent majority of people who don’t bother to vote.

  28. I’m undecided for several reasons.

    The first reason–and the most easy to remedy–is because I just haven’t sat down and done my research yet. I see what my extreme liberal friends have to say, I see what my fundamentalist Christian friends have to say, and I see what my anarchist friends have to say. But everyone puts a slant on things, and I’d like to find out for myself what the bare facts are and then decide for myself what those facts mean.

    The second reason is social. My family is very, very fundie Christian and tends to vote straight republican. I’m not, but to be completely and totally honest, I’m worried about what they would think if I voted for someone other than a republican. Of course, I don’t have to tell them. Or I can just lie. It’s not like they can come into the voting booth with me and look over my shoulder. So I suppose that’s pretty easy to fix, too.

    The third reason is that, as far as I know, neither Romney nor Obama sync with the social issues that really matter to me. I support equal rights for people who are LGBT. I support laws that limit/restrict abortion. I support legislation that would give illegal immigrants a streamlined path to citizenship/documentation. I don’t know what the hell I think of the new health care laws. And then one of the issues that matters most to me–adoption and the foster care system–never really gets talked about.

    And then there’s the economic stuff, which I really don’t understand very well at this point. I know the economy is bad. Duh. But what’s the best way to fix it? I have no idea. That’s where I should put in some research time for sure. Also, I’m a student. All this stuff that’s come out in the last six months or so about no more subsidized loans and no more grace period directly affects me and my other grad/undergrad friends.

    Suppose I do figure out what I think of the economic stuff, but the candidate with the financial plan that I like the most happens to share the least of my views on social issues. What becomes the priority then? Social stuff or economic stuff?

    So. Yeah. I’m just one big ol’ mess of confusion this election. But it’s partially my own fault because I haven’t taken the time to really do my homework.

    PS: If this shows up without lines between paragraphs, I apologize. I’m not sure how to format things correctly on here, and it looks like wordpress is eating my html tags.

  29. @ benjb

    If you are undecided, where do you get your information and news from? Are there particular channels/shows or websites/blogs that you go to?

    Everyone has a biased viewpoint, including me. Skepticism, a healthy bullshit filter, and a wide net are the friends of comprehensive awareness. I read a variety of news sites, both domestic and foreign (it’s often very enlightening to see the difference in how outsiders view one’s society). Blogs I mostly read for entertainment, not news, but that doesn’t mean they can’t point me toward useful information. In the end, though, a lot of understanding politics is learning to read between the lines. Actions speak louder than words.

  30. Crap! I cross-posted with you, John. Typing these while doing other things probably isn’t the best idea. If you want to delete this and my last post, I’ll take zero umbrage.

  31. I also have to admit to not doing any research yet, but it’s also…uh..4 months before the election, and the republican candidate is still in his “move to the center” phase, an artifact of how our primary process is sub-optimal, so any policy stands may have *ahem* “evolved” since then. I don’t count that as a flip-flop on an issue, I just count it as the process being antiquated. Honestly, in real time, I’ll probably spend 4 hours sometime in early November figuring it out. That’s really all you need to make a decision anyway if you sorta keep up with current events. It’s a serious decision to make, but not one worth hundreds of hours of research on its own merits. Single-digit hours at most on that one decision.

  32. I’m undecided because I haven’t yet had time to dig and and do any substantive research into the candidates’ platforms, histories, voting track records, etc. I don’t like to make decisions until I have an informed opinion, and I hate getting my information pre-chewed.

  33. I’m undecided because I don’t like either majority party candidate–one disgusts me by tailoring his platform to appeal to and encourage the bigot fringe of his party; the other is a Daley-machine crook who can’t seem to get out of bed with his big contributors and terrifies me by thinking that assassinating American citizens without due process is just fine. (Not to mention suffering LBJ’s quirk of micro-managing military actions…)

    There doesn’t seem to be a point to voting for minor party candidates in the national election; they have no hope of winning and can only pull votes away from one major candidate to the benefit of the other.

  34. I’m undecided. The big reasons are that I’m socially quite liberal — too liberal for the Democratic party — and fiscally quite conservative — too conservative even for the Republicans. Some would point out that makes me a match for the Libertarians, but by and large that party has been overtaken by fringy squirrels. And yes, I have actually looked at myself in the mirror lately. Add to that the fact that on many, many issues, I’m pretty much a middle of the road moderate, seeking compromise and incremental solutions.

    I don’t see many candidates running on that platform.

    So how do I pick? What’s going to matter to me come November? It’s as much about the candidates as it is about me. It’s like going out to eat and being only offered two selections: chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, vs. BBQ chicken with baked beans and cole slaw. Well, I hate chicken-fried steak — terrible thing to do to a piece of beef — but I hate cole slaw. I might favor the baked beans over the mashed potatoes, but a lot of it is going to depend on what’s happening in my gut that day. So, I have to decide what’s more important to me, getting that BBQ chicken or having some quality green beans? I can’t have both. I have to pick one vs. the other and make do with the undesirable stuff that comes with it.

    For me, candidates are the same. I have hard-to-insure kids that are now insurable thanks to Obamacare, but I prefer Romney’s fiscal policies. I also care about constitutional philosophies that will guide court nominations. I care about foreign policy, especially what to do with a decreasingly democratic Russia. And though it’s a small part of the budget, I care passionately about US space policy. I also have some odd thoughts about US immigration, education, and marital rights.

    So in the run-up to November, I’m going to be looking at these two candidates to see exactly what they say is on their menu. Maybe neither of them will have green beans, but snow peas are a decent substitute. Maybe they’ll both promise broiled steak, but I believe only one has the necessary experience at the grill to pull it off. I just don’t know yet.

    And when it’s all said and done, I’m just going to have to prioritize and decide what is more important to me for the next four years. That’s all about me. Promises from the candidates or arguments from their supporters won’t really sway me, because these are decisions based on the road I have to walk with my wife and family. What positions am I willing to sacrifice? What positions are worth that sacrifice?

    Frankly, what freaks me out is how people can have already made up the minds. I mean, it’s a little less so now, because we already have our candidates, and maybe you’ve already done that research and soul-searching. But I’ve known people who say, “Oh, I always vote Democrat” or “I’ll vote Republican until the day I die,” like they were born into it. Not me.

    It’s not right vs. left. Politics is a 37-dimension vector space, and it’s time to do the math.

  35. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for yet for a couple of reasons:

    I just don’t know enough about what Romney is planning other than his hope of repealing Obamacare. And, honestly, I really like some things about Obamacare. And I am confused about the rest of it. So I don’t think a total repeal without something to fill in the gaps is a good idea. Maybe that’s enough to vote for Obama? Don’t know.

    Obama likes to talk a big game and make big promises, but those promises don’t always happen. Largely, I think because of my biggest reason for not knowing who I’ll vote for: no matter who the President is, Congress and the Senate get in the way. It seems to me that unless the same party controls all three, very little can get done. And what does get done, is done BADLY (the Affordable Care Act is an example of this). Republicans vote for things other Republicans bring up, and they vote against things Democrats bring up. I swear, a bill stating that “a cloudless sky is blue in the middle of the day in San Diego” would be voted down just because the wrong person brought it up. I realize that the system is set up to have checks and balances, and I like that. But the 2-party system REALLY gets in the way of that sometimes.

    So, it comes down to this: what is each candidate promising, but what can they realistically accomplish?

  36. I’m with you on the turtle, but I’m undecided on Obama/Protest. If my state’s electoral college votes are clearly in the bag for either side, I’ll vote protest. If it’s close, iffy, or even possible upset, I’ll go O.

  37. I agree with Dragoness Eclectic, in that, I don’t like either of the two major party candidates. I could as well flip a coin to decide. I’m generally a libertarian, which seemingly would make the choice easy. Gary Johnson has actual government experence and while there is zero chance he can win, at least he’s a legitimate candidate. Unfortunately, I recently heard an interview with him that left me completely unimpressed. Maybe he was having a bad day and I shouldn’t base my entire decision on one interview. I’ve considered not voting several times in the past, so maybe I’ll do that, but I’ll probably go ahead and vote for Johnson, just to register my protest. Not that anyone will care and even take note.

  38. I’m a registered independent and am still largely undecided — mainly because I can’t decide which candidate I wish most to vote -against-. I was a big fan of Obama in 2008, but I’ve been disappointed in his lack of leadership on the key issues that led me to vote -for- him then: post-9/11 policies of questionable constitutionality, security theater vs. true security, his largely ignored promises of a more transparent administration (vs. “executive privilege blah blah blah”), intelligent and realistic Internet and IP policies (vs. the SOPA/PIPA wharrgarbl), etc.

    That said, I cannot imagine myself voting for Romney, who strikes me as completely out of touch with the issues and considerations of my own daily life. Name a single issue, and he and I probably come at it from vastly different viewpoints and reach different conclusions.

    I’m unaffiliated politically because I don’t believe in a 2-party system. That said, I’m not interested in standing in line for 1+ hours on election day to throw away my vote on a third-party candidate with zero chance of winning (but a real chance of splitting the vote, with distasteful repercussions; see Nader in 2000, e.g.).

    So. As-yet undecided, unimpressed by either major candidate, wondering how to make the final decision for the lesser of who-cares come Election Day.

  39. I’m undecided because I’m frustrated. I see good and bad points to each. I think I’m honestly hoping it turns into a runaway so that it doesn’t matter who I vote for. And yes, I acknowledge that’s a cop-out. In the end, I’ll probably vote for whomever’s ads piss me off the least.

  40. Oh. I should have clarified. I’m frustrated with the whole polarity-without-tension entrenchment of our current major parties. I’m frustrated with not working harder at working together in our disagreement. I’m frustrated with turning politics into a game of hot potato with live grenades. In other words, I’m just so frustrated with the politics of current politics that I don’t trust anyone currently involved at the national level.

  41. There isn’t a single issue that defines my voting. I traditionally vote (r) but voted for (d) in the last presidential election. It was equal parts for Obama, against Palin, and against Bush (or historic (r) foreign policy). This election, so far, seems to come down to the idea of minimalism gov’t, I like that, but it seems that (r) just means that when it comes to social spending, not military. I’m not sold that any one party does a better job of spending less, it’s just a matter of what you spend the money on. If that opinion holds, I’ll probably vote for Obama again…. but seeing as the main stump speech for (r) is smaller gov’t / less spending, and that my ideals line up with what (r) say they are going to do I’d like to vote there. I was sold with (r) if Huntsman was in the race, he seemed like the most intelligent of the pack. Romney seems like Obama light, I’m just not convinced that there’s enough of a difference between the two to really make a difference. 4 years in any one direction seems like a short time span to have any major influence, and zig-zagging back and forth just keeps us in the middle of the pond. That line of thinking makes me want to stay with Obama and see what he could get done in a more compromising political environment. Which leads me to the “I don’t want to play” mentality of the current (r) population, that is driving me nuts and pushes me to the (d) world just because I don’t want to be associated with that mentality. I look at Michigan’s current Governor. Idealistic (r) and doing GREAT things. I would vote for him again in a heartbeat. Look to our neighbors to the west and I wouldn’t vote for WI’s current Governor if you paid me. They have the same agenda, but have gone about it in completely different methods. Sometimes the process is just as important as the results.

  42. I’d like to be slightly subversive and hope you take this in the spirit to which it’s intended.

    I WANT A VOTE. USA politics heavily influence global politics, especially when other countries are being invade or, like my home Downunder, the conservative political party wishes to emulate the US in all things like lack of healthcare for lower socio-economic classes, keeping the ‘little woman’ at home etc. If US politics continue to influence global politics to this extent, especially the politics in my home country, I should be entitled to vote.

  43. I concur with what Max Dobberstein said up above. I will likely vote for a third party candidate because I live in Texas. Obama lost Texas 55-45 last time around, and my hunch is that the Republican base of this state has only become more entrenched.

    I’m inclined to vote Gary Johnson because of the many issues that I lean Libertarian on, including ending the disastrous war on drugs and significantly reducing the debt. Although I like Obama on a personality level and think he has done a stellar job with the mess he inherited, it nonetheless bothers me when I think of his actions in regard to civil liberties, privacy, and executive power.

    That said, if there’s even a slight, slight chance that Obama will carry Texas this year, I will happily help him do it. There’s no part of my personal politics that would improve under a Romney presidency. I am “undecided” until I get some data on how Texas is shaping up for Obama in November.

  44. @ Dragoness Eclectic

    There doesn’t seem to be a point to voting for minor party candidates in the national election; they have no hope of winning and can only pull votes away from one major candidate to the benefit of the other.

    Only if there was ever any chance of that vote going to one or the other major party candidate. Votes aren’t like slices of pie where one person using their vote means someone else can’t use it; only you can use your vote (assuming no electioneering).

    I live in Texas, so my vote in this general presidential election is symbolic anyway.

    1) I can symbolize apathy, which I refuse to do and regard as tragic.
    2) I can symbolize support for the status quo in my home state, which will only ever happen if the status quo abandons its xenophobic and racist tendencies.
    3) I can symbolize support for the Democratic incumbent.
    4) I can symbolize support for a third party candidate or write-in.
    5) Or I can symbolize support for a fictive write-in – voting for General Grievous is the same as not voting and so only a slightly funnier tragedy.

    If I lived in a swing state, I’d have a more difficult choice because then I really would have to decide whether it’s better to vote for the lesser evil in a death spiral of diminishing returns or take a vote that may actually make a difference between bad and badder and instead use it to demonstrate that I regard choosing the lesser evil as an unsustainable path of decline.

    Symbols have power. It’s not the same power as a major-party vote in a swing state, but it exists. A Democratic candidate who loses substantial votes to a Green or Civil Liberties candidate knows their alienating their support base.

    @ IanIan

    That said, if there’s even a slight, slight chance that Obama will carry Texas this year, I will happily help him do it.

    That was my reason for voting for Obama last election, but McCain’s failure to win the Lonestar State by a Texas-sized landslide last time hinged largely on how disgusted staunch conservatives had become with Dubya.

  45. I am undecided because, AFA or not, we need health care reform and I haven’t heard Romney tell me what he intends to do if he succeeds in killing Obamacare. Specificity is needed. I haven’t heard enough from Romney on foreign policy and how he sees our responsibilities re: China, failed states, the Middle East and Israel v the world. I want to be assured that Romney won’t pull a Palin on us. in other words I want to be able to compare as much specific info as the candidates will provide before I commit.

  46. Hmmm…..well. I was once a frequent commenter here, but after several run-ins with John’s “Mallet, ” I vowed to forever remain silent and watch as others navigated these tricky waters. But now, John is explicitly soliciting the opinions of those who disagree with him, and asking others to refrain from arguing about it. It seems the surf is calm, so I’ll dip my toe in once again.

    I’m undecided for several reasons:

    First, because I don’t have to decide yet. That may sound pedantic, but I’ve always viewed people who commit before election day as publicly admitting that they’re willing to make an important decision before hearing all the facts. Election day is November 6th, and so I’ll decide on November 6th. Until then, I consider it my duty as a citizen to keep my mind open to new information. I simply don’t see the downside in doing otherwise.

    Beyond that, my indecision rests primarily on what I’ve learned about Barack Obama. I voted for him in 2008 because I thought he was wicked smart, and because he seemed willing to consider the full scope of a problem before putting forth a solution, rather than parrotting a series of partisan talking points (in stark contrast to his opponent at the time).

    When he took office, though, I was saddened to see him direct his powerful mind to his own priorities, rather than those of the country. Unemployment was, and is, the biggest problem we face as a nation. He took some steps to address that problem (e.g., economic stimulus, bailouts for the automobile industry), but most of what he accomplished in his first term addressed other problems: mortgage reform, credit card reform, reform of the derivatives markets, CEO compensation reform (remember the pay czar?), immigration reform, and, of course, healthcare reform. Some of these things were, in my opinion, good for the country. None of them were, in my opinion, emergencies. But all of them cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and some of them arguably cost us jobs, at least in the short term.

    It is clear to me that President Obama had his own list of priorities when he took office, and nothing about the reality of what he inherited was going to sway him. He inherited a house that was on fire, and instead of calling the fire department, he installed LED bulbs in all the fixtures and upgraded to a more energy-efficient air conditioner.

    So I’m curious about what his priorities are this time around, and whether or not they sync up with what I believe the nation’s priorities are. Is he now focused on job creation? How will he respond to some of Mitt Romney’s proposals to stimulate the private sector and encourage employment? I’m willing to be convinced that Romney’s wrong and Obama’s right, but the convincing argument is going to have be more than “corporations are evil” and “Republicans got us into this mess in the first place.” I feel sure that Obama is capable of putting together a comprehensive jobs bill, but only if he believes it’s important.

    So I’m going to wait and see…

  47. I’m conflicted because I was raised in an extremely conservative home. But then I went to college, and then I graduated and got really poor, and pregnant, and my husband and I are trying to string enough together to feed our family (and I’m not being hyperbolic on this, our ability to buy food has become a concern) for the next year until he graduates. And I found out that not all poor people are the lazy-needs-to-get-a-job people my parents painted them as. We have jobs, but they don’t pay enough to provide for our family, especially with a baby. And suddenly legislation like PPACA became incredibly relevant to our family. If it wasn’t for PPACA, I wouldn’t have health insurance, and we’d be going into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to have this baby. I still tend to be fiscally conservative, but as time passes I find myself more and more socially liberal. I don’t want the much-larger-than-my-family deficit problem to escalate through the expansion of social programs and spending generally in the government, but PPACA and social welfare programs are making a huge difference in my family’s capacity to survive. Do I really want to elect somebody who is running on a ticket to repeal what has made my family’s ability to cope with healthcare a possibility? I guess I’m having a crisis of conscience of what I ACTUALLY believe vs. what my parents believe. And whether or not I’d like to extend to other families the opportunity for healthcare that we’ve been extended.

  48. I suspect I’m going to make some people mad. I’m sure if I wander in the wrong direction I’ll be malleted with(out?) prejudice. :]

    I’m undecided because I’m Mormon. I’m a relatively active Mormon in the heart of Mormon country–Utah County, Utah. I have a number of relatives, friends and acquaintances who voted for Obama because he’s black. Some went through the fiction of examining his politics but, in the end, the idea of a black man appealed to their sense of … guilt? *shrug* Don’t know, don’t really care. I don’t want to vote for Romney just because the idea of a Mormon–and an active one at that–in the White House is exciting.

    Romney has a relatively decent history as a politician and businessman, and a number of ideals I like (but … that raises the spectre of the above quandary). But, his and his wife’s idea of “roughing it” by raising their children on their own, with no household staff, and that means they have a tie to the “common man” is bogus, though not one they seem to understand. Sure, they had some struggles as a young couple–but they *never* had to worry about whether or not their kids were going to eat the last few days before the next paycheck or had to choose between filling up the gas tank and buying groceries.

    Obama did not turn out to be the ineffective front man I thought he would be. While I *strongly* disagree with the way Obamacare was shoved through the system–and all the other bills done that way on both sides–Obama does appear to be trying.

    I’ve been an Independent my entire adult life, but as I get older I find myself leaning more and more towards the republican side of things. Of course, the location of republican and democrat on the political spectrum has changed over time as well …

    I don’t think I’ll be voting for Obama for a wide range of reasons, but until I’m sure I’ll be voting for Romney the right reasons I’m not making up my mind either way.

    I’m reminded, for some reason, of this quote: ‘Why go with the lesser evil? Vote Cthulhu!’ :>

  49. As a bunch of other people said I’m undecided because I don’t like either of them and I wish we had an option that wasn’t the two-party system.

    I’m all over the place on the issues, some social issues I’m conservative, others I’m in the middle, others I’m liberal. Same problem with fiscal issues. I have no shot at a candidate that actually matches up with what is important to me.

    Plus, I live in a very blue state so in a practical way my vote does not matter. That does let me attempt to find a third-party candidate who at least gets close, but that’s about it. The “joke” write-in vote gets more appealing every election cycle.

  50. I’m a good example of what Gulliver talks about in his post above regarding a symbolic vote. I too live in Texas. I would be more likely to run through Austin naked than vote for the Republican candidate. Yet as liberal as the residents of Austin can be, it’s surrounded by a sea of conservative Texas. Which leads me to wonder whether it is worth going to the polls at all. So I’m torn between voting for a party like the Greens or not even bothering with a vote because of the way Texas tends to vote (hint: the last time they chose the Democratic candidate, I was 3).

    On the other hand… while I don’t think Obama’s healthcare bill is perfect (is ANY big change perfect out of the gate?) I too am given a glimmer of hope in seeing it pass, because as a person with cancer (which at present cannot be cured), I would like to someday change jobs, or work for myself, or have some kind of safety net if funding for my job gets cut. And yeah, that makes me like the guy in office a bit more for coming through on something that has an impact on my life.

  51. About 8 months ago, before the primary season even began –(during the first week of Nov. ’11)– I was contacted out of the blue by one of the big-name political polling firms, (the one out of Princeton, NJ.) They were doing a poll for CNN, and wanted my input. They went through a bunch of demographic questions, and then they started in asking me “if the election were held tomorrow” type of questions.

    Now, you have to understand something, as preamble/background to what follows, here: I am an extremely radicalized independent and a big believer in what retired Sen. from Indiana Evan Bayh called “electoral shock therapy” for our country.

    I proudly participated in third-party political organization 20 years ago, when Ross Perot was running for president, I voted for third-party candidates 3 straight Presidential elections running, and am proud to say that I never once voted for George W. Bush OR Bill Clinton. (Kerry and Mccain, if you’re keeping score at home.) I am registered as a Democrat, so that I can vote for more likely candidates in the primaries. (My district, here in Calif’s central valley, votes heavily “blue dog” (conservative) Democrat, and if i want to help influence who is running in the fall, and I do, I have to stay politically in touch, so I can influence the outcome.)

    My favorite quotes about the political process are as follows: As William James once supposedly said, “a difference which *makes* no difference *IS* no difference.” As William Greider (a progressively oriented writer, BTW,) astutely pointed out 20 years ago in his seminal book: “Who Will Tell The People, the betrayal of American democracy,” “as it stands now, in the name of fostering prosperity, Americans are helping to finance enterprises that do not reciprocate the loyalty.” My strongly, carefully considered belief and policy manifesto is that if Americans are not equally incensed at both political parties, the evidence strongly suggests they should be.

    So, when the polling service called last November they were asking me about all sorts of potential matchups between the then-Republican contenders and Obama. My response to the pollster, which I felt strongly about, then, and still stand by, was as follows:: “Let me just interrupt you, and save you several minutes, so I can let you move on to the next person you are polling. I will under no circumstances vote for Obama, but I *cannot* see myself voting for any of the Republican contenders. A difference which makes no difference IS no difference.” And in the 8 months since then, with everything I have learned about the Obama admn’s venality in the Solyndra corp. matter, their plans to raise one BILLION dollars for the fall election, and Romney’s Bain Capital’s vulture capitalism, i see no reason to change my mind. Neither candidate is worthy!. I’d practically kill for a “none of the above” option on my Calif. ballot, with the consequence being that if 50% + 1 voter voted for that option, they’d have to hold a national re-do of the election.

    I keep coming back to an email conversation I had 4 years ago in January, with a multiple-Hugo and -Nebula-award-winning sci-fi author of my acquaintance, who shall remain nameless. I hesitate to be quoted on either my email or his response, since I’d have to paraphrase in both cases. It was on an old email account and an old computer and those email files have become corrupted. But he’s way more progressive minded than me.

    So what follows is me doing as best as I can to reconstruct the conversation from memory. I had written to him, expressing my frustration about the (at the time) likely candidates, Obama, Hillary C., and a Republican cast of dozens, which included many of those who also eventually ran in ’12.) I especially expressed concern that, once elected, they would all “heed their corporate masters,” rather than doing what’s best for the rest of us. Bear in mind, this was when the deep recession, which was a depression-in-all-but-name, and which, according to my Facebook friend Jonathon Vos Post’s research, extracted 3 TRILLION dollars worth of value-deleted losses from the global economy, was only months old. I expressed frustration to this nameless sci-fi author friend over the fact (proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, to my satisfaction,) that corporate ownership of elections (–and bear in mind, this was before the Citizens United ruling)– was SO much a fait accompli that I was beginning to become concerned I would not see a presidential candidate in my lifetime (I’m 51) who was his own “sui generis” spontaneously-speaking man or her own woman, instead of being in thrall of the corporate puppet-masters. He wrote back to me, generally agreeing with me, and saying that the best thing that could happen is for a group of billionaires to get together, and, out of the goodness of their hearts, take over the political process, running one of their own as a candidate, and thereby freezing out the “business as usual” candidates. I wrote back to him saying something to the effect of News Of The Weird editor Chuck Shepherd’s line “you’re not cynical enough,” and he wrote back saying “yeah, I know; it was the best I could do”

  52. I’ve never seen a candidate run for office that I’d vote for.

    For me it comes down to wanting to; end our foreign military involvements since no long term good can come of them, drastically reduce the powers of our federal government, and ending the policies that have encouraged us to be the highest per capital energy user’s in the world. These ideas have been the most important to me since I’ve been old enough to vote. No politician has even come close to supporting this platform of ideals yet. Heck, I’ve yet to meet of someone with the same ideas as me, let alone one capable of being elected to a position of power.

  53. I’m between voting for Obama, and “throwing away” my vote on a Socialist or Green candidate. While Obama’s been largely disappointing and I feel it’d be better to “punish” him by voting for a different candidate, he’s certainly better for American than Mitt Romney, and Romney being elected would make the lives of a lot of people less privileged than myself (a straight, white man from a middle-class background, who doesn’t presently live in America and is working on migrating to a different country) exponentially worse. Of course, by compromising like that I’m sending a message to politicians that I’m happy (or at least willing to settle) with the two-party status quo, so things aren’t likely going to get any better next time around. So do I potentially take a big steaming dump on people less fortunate than me because I want things to get better in the long run, or do I give in to realpolitik and sign on for four more years of assassinating US citizens overseas, coddling Wall Street, and feeble capitulation to the Party of Obstinacy?

    Basically, I wish Bernie Sanders was 20 years younger and interested in running for the presidency.

  54. Hi John,

    I’m honestly morally undecided, why do I say this I really want to vote my true conscious since I’m not sure Barak is the best choice for the office. I love is rhetoric but in practice he capitulates to big money rather then the little people like you and I. I really want to vote for someone I think has principles and beliefs that they are willing to fight for BUT I know to have a chance at a rational nation I have to again compromise my thoughts and gore for Obama who I think has no investment in the people over Mitt who I know has less… It’s frustrating since I found myself crying over his speeches I want to believe in him I really do he’s just never proved any conviction to me. I know Mitt is corporate scum at the highest order and he must not be pres. Because ghat would be a disaster… For me it’s another vote for the lesser of two evils. I’d rather vote for Cthulhu since he at least has conviction in somethig other then money…

  55. I voted for John Kennedy in my first presidential election, the only time I voted for a Democrat. I also voted for Richard Nixon. I’ve voted in every presidential election since Kennedy. Mostly Republican. Lately I’ve begun to see that neither major party has any realistic idea on how to solve the countries problems. I had high hope for Obama, but, now I see he’s more of a mouth than a president. He’s made some decisions that I see as gross malfeasance, e.g., killing American citizens without benefit of a trial. On the other hand, Romney panders to the fringe elements. Does that mean he won’t continue to do so if elected? Maybe I’ll just vote for a third party candidate. Probably Gary Johnson, he was a good governor, and I voted for him for governor. It won’t make a difference in the outcome, but, it’ll make me feel better. I guess, that’s the final choice, what makes me or you feel better about the person voted for.

  56. I don’t hold faith with any party. I trend to fiscally conservative, socially liberal for what it is worth. Most of the solvable problems for the U.S. that I see are domestic and so the most important branch is the legislative. With the current state of politics, I don’t see that it really matters which flavor president you have, because for the past ~20 years, both parties drifted to the extremes of their tent. Both haven’t been good stewards of their party’s tenets.

    Obama’s leadership in regards to our economy has been abysmal. I don’t fault him for the economy he received, but the economic games he’s played, the latest being the delaying/blocking Keystone pipeline, and the Solyndra fiasco, are completely on his doorstep and don’t inspire confidence in his ability to lead in making sound economic policies. Failure to close Gitmo, uninspired foreign policy, poor leadership as Commander in Chief.
    He’s had a very difficult presidency. The economic, military, domestic issues and foreign issues have made a very turbulent time for him. But his presidency so far is the musical equivalent of the ‘Fail horn’ from the Price is Right.

    Romney scares the bejesus out of me. The GOP plays chicken with every damned issue it can. Pretty much the entire party sucks and makes me ashamed of the issues I actually agree with them on. Inspired political analysis, I know.

    I think I’m voting independent. It will be a waste this election, but I’d like to signal that both major parties are screwing up. They need to realize they can’t be indifferent to their core members and pander to their extremes. Hopefully legitimizing more independent candidates will cause both parties to refocus.

  57. I feel alot like SlimWhistler. I undecided because I am probably on my way to becoming a Democrat, but I am having trouble leaving my Republian identity behind even thought I am pretty apolitical and try to ignore politics as much as possible.

    I’m almost 40 and have been a life long Republican. Even though the Republican party had just starting having a chance of winning my state when I registered to vote, I was happy to do so because I was very fiscally conservative and only moderately socially conservative. I’ve become more socially liberal in the last 20 years, but more than I’ve changed I believe the Republican party has changed to embrace the super conservative hate-filled, creationist teaching, Bible-thumping crazies and I do not want to be associated with them.

    I am frustrated that there’s no middle ground and the republican and democratic candidates must embrace the most extreme end of their parties to have any chance of getting nominated. Still I do wonder about Mitt. He passed “Obama-care” in his state when he was governer. Would he be less extreme right wing once he’s elected? He’s not exactly Christian either.

    PS I am still mostly fiscally conservative I think, but I have decided we do need socialized medicine. Every American has a right to healthcare and it should be society’s responsibility to provide it. And our medical system as it is broken. So IMO Obama-care is a step in the right direction.

  58. My indecision has more to do with cynicism for the presidential election process as a whole. Ideally, the process would select multiple candidates with nuanced values and ideas that would be up for public discussion. However, every four years the press and politicians seem to hold a dog and pony show where sound bites and posturing attempt to persuade enough of the electorate that one candidate is looking out for you more than the other rather than employing honest, pragmatic dialogue. It’s as though the candidates ascribe to Groucho Marx’s philosophy for getting elected – “those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” This cycle, Romney’s gaffe’s elucidate this concept; President Obama is just better at it. Even cynicism set aside, the entire election process sure seems to be given a lot more attention by Americans despite it having relatively little impact their daily lives. Although I would ascribe to a slightly more conservative ideology, I can honestly say that the ONLY difference I have seen in the past four years personally is an extension of my health insurance until I am 26. Is this good? I guess I benefit being as I am in graduate school, but I would not presume to know the full consequences of this policy. I suppose that’s it really, I have a deep skepticism of the motives, future policies, and their impacts of anyone running for office. And though they are different, I’m not sure one can be so certain who actually would make the most positive change in the country, assuming a president really does. Really John, your question is like asking an agnostic, “Which religion is best?”

  59. I’ve never really identified with one party or another. I’m undecided because I just don’t fit with American politics. I was brought up in a staunchly republican house which colors my world view, but I work in education and better sympathize with the democratic point of view. When it comes down to it, I’m too conservative to be a democrat and too liberal to be a republican.
    In all honesty, it is a matter of finding the lesser of the two evils, and deciding what is most important. I’ve been mostly avoiding politics (I don’t own a tv at the moment) and the rhetoric, and I probably won’t make up my mind until I’m standing at the polls. Both candidates have their pros and cons, and it’s a struggle to see where my Important Thoughts relate to theirs.

  60. In a way I am both decided and undecided. I am decided that I will not be voting for either Obama or Romney (not that the latter was ever an option), but undecided as to which 3rd party candidate I will be voting for. I voted for Obama in 2008, but I will not be doing so again. While I think he has done a number of praiseworthy things, there is one issue that I feel he has singularly failed at: rolling back the infringements put on our civil liberties by the Bush administration. I my opinion, instead of removing them, the current administration has actually increased them. The TSA’s “enhanced” pat downs come to mind. Or treatment of Bradley Manning. Not mention going back on his promise to filibuster on warrantless wire tapping, only to vote for it once he had secured the nomination. Another thing that bothers me was his pre-election commitment to openness, but things like ACTA & TPP are being negotiated behind closed doors without being accessible to members of Congress, let alone the average citizen. So I will be voting for an as yet to be determined 3rd party candidate, most likely the Greens. That is unless they nominate Roseanne Barr. Then I’ll have to choose another party. If I didn’t like you TV show, I’m definitely not voting for you for president. I will, however, be voting. I feel that as a citizen, I have a duty to vote. I only wish that at least once before I get turned into soylent green, I get to vote for a candidate who I actually believe in, not just one who is the lesser of two evils.

  61. Talk about the evil of two lesser’s….
    I didn’t vote for Obama the first time around. IMO he ran eight years to early. He built up so many expectations. And he’s failed on most of them. Yes, He inherited a mess. But he was elected to fix them, and the excuses as to why things are the same just ring hollow to three years later.
    I am not sure Romney can do a better job. His executive experience and business experience is a plus, and he seems to have a better relationship with the Republican Leadership than Obama has with the Democratic Leadership.
    I’ll probably wait until the Conventions…after then it’s going to be which one will screw me the least the next four years…

  62. Socially, I’m liberal/libertarian – As long as you aren’t hurting someone else, I really don’t care what you do. Fiscally, I’m moderate – I think we should have government spending and it should probably remain reasonably close to historical levels (about 20% of GDP). I don’t think we are spending it on the correct things (I, for one, favor a Swedish style single payer health system, and vastly increased spending on science, while I fail to understand how cutting the military budget to merely 3X what the rest of the world spends from 5x will endanger national security.)
    I know I’m not going to vote for Romney. I honestly believe he is the theocrat he is campaigning as. I am undecided between Gary Johnson and Obama…I’m pretty sure Illinois will go for Obama even without all the tea party nut jobs in the southern part of the state…but I guess it will depend on the polling come late October. If there is still a solid likelyhood that Obama will win Illinois, I’ll probably cast a protest vote for Johnson.

  63. I can quite safely say that I won’t be voting for either of them, however I am an interested observer. I do find it very curious that so many people seem to be opposed to the notion of universal health care. How is this such a big issue? Here in Australia it is considered a basic right. You might as well make an issue of kids being allowed an education.

    Anyway, as I say I’ll be very interested to see how it pans out and which issues wind up being the deciders (or will it be decided by smear campaigns and people voting the way they always have regardless?).

  64. I’m Australian but watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report every night, so I think I’m at least self deluded enough to think I can provide some input. But if I was a US Citizen, in addition to being able to buy my comics a lot cheaper, I’d seriously consider not voting at all.

    Romney is a tool, in the most literal sense of the world, owned and operated by the people who have almost destroyed the economy more than once in only the last 10 years and are fighting tooth and nail to keep a staggering proportion of the countries wealth in their family forever. A vote for the mannequin is a vote for a plutocracy where you’re happy being kept under the thumb of the rich.

    On the other hand Obama has fallen into that trap of focusing too much on winning elections rather than running a country. Otherwise gitmo would be closed, Afghanistan would have been called off as a lost cause (like a hundred countries before finally understood, Rambo 3 some how has become a comedy), and the USA wouldn’t have a leader who smiling accepts a Nobel Peace Prize while ordering drone strikes in foreign countries.

    I’d vote for an honest president who controlled the wealthy, protected the poor and ended wars rather than trying to win them.

  65. I know it’s way more complicated than this, but…
    Sometimes it seems like there’s one political party that wants to take all my money and give it to the rich people, and another political party that wants to take all my money and give it to the poor people.
    Where is the political party that wants to let me keep my money? Those are the folks I want to vote for, but I can’t seem to find them.
    So at this point I truly don’t know what I’m gonna do in November.

  66. Like a lot of others here, I’m socially liberal, except for my adamant stance on gun rights, and fiscally conservative, which makes both candidates seem like a poor choice. I think Barack Obama has proven himself to be inadequate as a leader, and have a lot of concern about glimpses of Chicago-style bullying attitudes and dishonesty that have shown through from him now and again. I just don’t think he’s the honest, nice guy that he wants to portray himself as. On the other hand, Romney isn’t really any better (I think “nice guys” get weeded out of politics pretty quickly, if they want to get ahead), and while I understand how one could reach generic Republican stances without being racist, sexist, or homophobic, the stances themselves do stink of those things.

    I’m horrified by the PPACA. There’s no sense in having a bill that long that encompasses that many things. I admit that there are a lot of things in it that are good, but the “kitchen sink” approach that was taken is kind of absurd, and the fact that it was passed so quickly (when it was a HUGE bill that should have required a lot of study and consideration) scares me. On a personal level, I really want to detach health care from employment – I know a lot of people who’re stuck in a job that makes them miserable, just because they worry about the disruption in health care. Additionally, I’m “bleeding heart” enough that I really, really want people to have affordable health care, but I really think there’s got to be a better way. Adding more regulation and government control seems like a good way to increase health care overhead and increase costs, not to make things more affordable. I think it was mostly well intentioned, but what I know of it and what I know of human nature makes me think it’s going to make things worse, not better. The stretching of Congress’s taxation powers to allow compulsion of a citizen to buy something he/she may not necessarily want is another major concern, on my part.

    I’m also a bit turned off by President Obama’s track record on the economy, and his habit of pointing fingers at his predecessor. He didn’t “inherit” a bad situation – he actively campaigned to take control of it. It’d be one thing to say, “Look, the situation was worse than I thought, but we’ve made progress here and here, and this is what I plan to do next,” but that’s not really what I’ve heard from him.

    I have fewer specific examples of what I dislike about Romney qua Romney, but I’ve never been particularly impressed by him. The Republicans, in general, are even further from me on social issues (my marriage is more than strong enough to handle it if I see two folks of the same gender marrying, thank you very much), and Romney doesn’t seem to be putting forth any fixes for the health care system, just complaints and promises to undo what’s been done (though, honestly, repealing the existing bill would be a welcome first step, I think – see above).

  67. John at 2:02 regarding YuriPup at 1:33
    I took this as a request for clarification on terms, not a call to debate. However, my family considers friendly debate to be a contact sport so my mileage differs a bit.

    So, to answer YuriPup…. Yes. I hold all politicians to the same standards regardless of party or platform. Me liking a platform is only the first step. I view campaigning the same way I view dating. If the person I’m considering entering into a long-term relation ship deliberately lies or acts like a ass while they’re putting their best foot forward, what will they be like when that same relationship is finalized and they don’t have to pretend anymore?

    My vote always goes to the one who pisses me off the least. That’s why I’m always undecided until election day.

  68. Thank you, Mr. Scalzi for this thread. I wasn’t undecided when I started reading it, but now I am, and, further, believe that I should be. I’m also very happy to have so many resources and topics for research. I’ve voted Demican all my life not because I’m in complete agreement with the party line or even because the parents were Roosevelt Democrats, but because the balance of Republicrat policy through the years always seemed hostile to working class Americans. In fact, most of the rhetoric seemed to appeal to the most ungenerous impulses of the working class. That impression has not changed, but age has made me more liberal rather than less, and my dissatisfactions with the Obama administration I’ve tolerated because, hey, nobody gets everything right! However, I now see that some of those dissatisfactions are based on truly awful decisions, e.g., the assassination without due process of Awlaki. If Dubya screwed with the Constitution, how is it acceptable for Obama to do it? I believed him to be more intelligent than his predecessor, and to me that makes him more responsible, not less. It’s always been a balancing act between policies one is enthused about and policies one loathes and the range of intensity between enthusiasm and loathsomeness, but one has to be honest with oneself.

    As I am from an extremely small blue state, I may take the protest vote option if I can convince myself that it is not a self-satisfying sort of cop-out when one knows that others will be making the decision. Curse that electoral system!

    @Scott
    Ummmm–I think kids being allowed an education has also been an issue for some policy makers in this country. I mean one logical consequence of massive government shrinkage might well be the removal of education from the public purview.

  69. I’m not truly undecided, because I know who I’ll vote against, but I really, really wish I could vote for “None of the above”

  70. I am undecided. I am very much a moderate voter. I agree with the Republicans on some issues and the Democrats on others. There is no political candidate or party that I feel truly represents my personal and political beliefs.

    The reason that I am having trouble coming to a decision on this is that I honestly believe that neither political party (and by extension neither candidate) has any interest in doing what is best for the American people. I believe that both sides serve only to further their own agenda while opposing the other side on every single issue.

    Regardless of who wins the White House in November, the entire political process is going to continue to be a ridiculous caricature of government based only on which side of the line our politicians stand. The idea of compromise is lost.

    I am undecided because I do not believe there is a clear right choice. I am so sick and tired of picking the candidate that I abhor the least.

  71. I would usually vote fairly predictably Republican, being a hardcore fiscal and defense conservative. But lately the Republican Party has focused so much on “social conservativism” that I find myself continuing to distance myself. I guess I could be considered personally socially conservative in that I’m a Christian and happily married with a nuclear-type family, but I don’t think for a moment that my personal beliefs constitute justification for law in and of themselves or even “because God said so.” It disturbs me that Governor Romney and a lot of others on the so-called Right cannot make that distinction between what they believe and what they can legislate within the bounds of the constitution. Many of the human rights issues in the Middle East arise from the fact that the more fundamentalist countries have no secular code which allows for tolerance of various belief systems. I have no desire to move towards a Christian analog of the Morality Police from Saudi here in America. Add to that the fact that Romney shows few signs of being an actual fiscal (pro-corporation is not fiscal conservatism) or defense conservative and he’s just not a terribly appealing choice. So I clearly cannot choose the wine in front of me.

    In favor of President Obama, he does seem sincere. He seems to be trying to do the best he can in the job. Unfortunately, I think he sincerely disagrees with most of the Free Market principles I think are necessary for a functioning economy in a free country. As far as defense goes, he gets full credit in my book for ordering the termination of UBL. I mean, the real heroes are the intel folks who figured out where he was and the operators who actually killed the asshole, but trying to deny him credit it for ordering the op is petty. On the minus, and I’m about to piss people off, it appeared to me that he completely disregarded any possible effect on combat readiness when he pushed the repeal of DADT. I acknowledge that the military will reflect the values of the society it serves, and DADT wasn’t going to last as a viable long-term policy. But repealing willy-nilly, no phases, no implementation control groups, no nothing, was irresponsible. He ignored the advice of the few flag officers in the Army and Marines with ACTUAL experience leading combat soldiers and marines at the sharp end in favor of Lady Gaga’s sound military advice. Also, I feel he is sometimes too conciliatory towards rivals and potential enemies abroad, ala the Eastern European missile shield, etc. I get that we’re trying to reduce our military involvement abroad, and I don’t necessarily disagree, but appearing weak doesn’t help anyone. So clearly I cannot choose the wine in front of you.

    But volleying back over to Romney’s side, I do not believe homosexuals should be relegated to second class citizenry. And since we have repealed DADT, whether I like it or not, we need to ensure that homosexual soldiers can extend the full rights of a spouse to their significant other. This is more cold-blooded than you would think, a soldier worried about her or his wife or husband is taken care of is distracted and ineffective, a danger to his or herself and his or her comrades. So, in my not so humble opinion, DOMA has to go.

    Libertarian isn’t really an option for me, not only because Paul went mainstream and tried to get the Republican primary, but because, while I am a min-archist, I don’t think full on libertarianism accounts for the practical need for SOME governmental functions.

    So basically, I’m looking at the first election where I may just not vote, since I really just don’t care which of the two real candidates makes it and I can’t even see a third party candidate I can get behind.

  72. I’m always undecided. I prefer to vote third-party if I can, to show my support for a non-binary system (which probably involves something like Aussie-rules voting or instant run-off). So my question each election is: is my state likely to go for the least reprehensible candidate? If the answer seems clearly yes, then I’ll vote third party; if I’m in doubt, I’ll vote for the guy I dislike least.

    I’m not going to explain my politics, or which party I tend to prefer, or even if there is such a party, because that’s not really relevant to what John asked.

  73. I have a theory about who I’ll vote for in the presidential race but a certainty that it’s not going to matter. I spend more time reading economics articles than political opinion pieces & I do my best to ignore all political ads. Opinion pieces & ads are all spin & cherry-picking so far as I can tell. Probably always were. See Politifact & FactCheck.org if you want to be really depressed.

    I’m almost 66 & partially disabled. I’ve been forcibly retired now for over a decade. I worry about the future of Social Security for people who will some day be in my situation. I worry about what’s going to happen with my pension as a retiree from a university (w/ a 35 yr career). Not a 401K which is also scary, but a -public- -state- pension, which depends like all states on certain fed monies coming in, on a healthy economy for income, or else needs to cut local costs. I live in a small state with few electoral votes that’s red in the south & blue in the north. My presidential choice is immaterial–we go blue nearly all the time because the blue part is more populated. My social/political inclinations are a mix of liberal & conservative. In recent years I had to stop & think about who I’m talking to before I offer opinions on anything. I sometimes still get it wrong & get an earful about exactly in which way I’m wrong. No one knows how to agree to disagree.

    Which brings me to my motive in posting. I -loathe- the lack of any inclination to compromise especially in Congress. So far as I can see, it matters not who is president with so little of any moment being debated by reps with the true interests of the country or its people at stake. A president may or may not choose to veto legislation. But when, with the exception of Obamacare, was the last time Congress passed more than a stop-gap measure anyway? Most legislation is prepaid for by the biggest campaign backers.

    Citizens United is destroying us. Our debt is destroying us. Greed, corporately & individually, is destroying us. Intellectual laziness is destroying us. Our meddling in w-a-y too many countries around the world is destroying us. We should bug out of at least half the countries in which we still -surreally- have military bases. But here’s the kicker: if we cut back on our armed forces, we increase unemployment & torpedo part of our GDP! In my opinion, we should be using much of the military budget (including salaries) to help with infrastructure & to rebuild communities devastated by ever-increasing disasters. Remember that thing about the common welfare of the people? As in the old meaning of welfare? But can anyone see a majority in Congress agreeing to anything as momentous as shifting from policing the world to keeping our own house in order?

    Sadly, frighteningly, even the measures I think have a small chance of helping aren’t likely to make a difference. Global warming, rising sea levels, pandemic, & famine are going to do us in anyway. Why? First because we’re probably past the point of no return. My state is coastal & is submerging a tiny bit at a time. I just moved away from an area where a plant in existence for at least 50 yrs had to close because the pumps they’ve used for over a decade could no longer keep flood waters off the factory floor. Houses had to be torn down & rumor has it that the apt complex I just left will be condemned. What was once land by a stream is becoming “wetland”.

    Even if members of Congress actually -think- & then actually -compromise- to come up with “national solutions” to global crises which are more than sticking a thumb in a dike, other countries may do nothing or choose to enact measures counter to what we’re doing but which are in their own national interests.
    If I had a crystal ball that allowed me to predict which national & local candidates would use their brains if elected & would compromise for the common good of the country, I’d be inclined to vote. But the majority of voters will still be nominating & voting for the fringy-est from one side or the other, so what’s the point?

  74. I am undecided about whether or not I will vote for Obama or for Rocky Anderson. I didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 because he broke his promise to filibuster the changes to the FISA law. I’ve been shocked and appalled as a progressive liberal, watching Obama juke and flit farther and farther right over the past four years, especially on the expansion of presidential powers, prosecuting undeclared wars and violating citizens’ privacy fronts.

    However, Citizens United and the PPACA rulings by the Supreme Court have certainly been important in the context of the next president appointing two or three new Justices. Therefore, I’m conflicted. Obama is so like Romney is many ways. He’s abandoned his liberal roots. But Roe V Wade does hang in the balance. So I don’t know what I’m going to do.

  75. I am undecided because for the first time in my voting life I am offered a choice between two strong candidates, and must put real thought into my choice. Where Romney has experience Obama has less, where Obama focused on the powerless Romney uses power wisely, where Romney is financial and business elite Obama is upper middle class, where Obama is intellectual and rhetorical elite Romney is middle class. Romney’s foreign policy may end up as stronger than Obama’s (and Hillary balanced some of that) but that’s educated guessing.

  76. I’m undecided as to whom my protest vote is going to. I’m certain that I am not going to throw away my vote on either Obama or Romney, both of whom are lying liars who lie, and neither of whom I have any use for. (I did vote for Obama last time around, with reservations, and out of five presidential elections, it’s the only vote I actively regret. I should’ve gone third-party.) I do not believe in voting for the lesser of the two evils; I think our best hope lies in people rejecting the false choice en masse. And I wish Nevada weren’t the only state to put “None of the Above” on the ballot.

  77. I’m sorry, and I apologize in advance:
    Turtle.
    Turtledove.*
    Harry Turtledove.
    Aren’t turtles bald? And what is a turtledove?
    </end sowwy

    In the last presidential election I had the choice
    of getting really drunk, voting for the guy who WAS
    to inexperienced to do the job, or the guy with the
    bad temper.
    I chose the guy who wasn't qualified.
    This upcoming election? I'll start caring on 1 Oct
    because waiting until then that helps me to not die
    of apoplexy.
    Shawn T
    Ohio, USA

    *I just finished reading "Supervolcano" by H. T.

  78. I’m disappointed in Obama and am considering voting for the Green party candidate. I believe that voting for a third party is better than not voting. On the other hand, I’m very nervous about a Romney presidency being worse than another Obama term. So, I might vote for Obama.

  79. Basically, what Kev G. and Joel said.
    As Peggy Noonan puts it, the choice is between the Nuts and the Creeps. I want nether and will vote against someone. The question is, who do I dislike more?

  80. I am undecided. In the last election, I voted for Romney (republican primary) and Obama (general). In this election, I voted for Romney, as everyone else I liked better was gone by the time the primaries got to Maryland.

    I used to like Romney a lot more than I do now. I liked his health care plan, and I liked how it seemed he was able to work with democrats. If 2007 Romney were in this election, I vote for him in a heartbeat.

    Even though I voted for Obama in the last election, he has been a severe disappointment. He’s not advanced social policies as much as I’d like, his foreign policy is Bush 2.0, and his political incompetence has paralyzed the country (one prime example – he should have gotten the Republicans to agree to extend the debt ceiling when extending the Bush tax cuts). Obamacare is a poorly implemented Republican plan; I wish we could have had a real debate about what health care plan would have been best.

    The latest republican primary really turned me against Romney, however. He ditched the things I liked best about him. And he’s been running as an anti-Obama; this means he doesn’t have many clear policies (by this I mean big ideas, not his warmed over policy plans) of his own. At this point my only hope would be that he would be more effective at fighting through partisan gridlock than Obama (I think anyone would).

    I wish Huntsman had won the primary; I could be more enthusiastic for him.

  81. Kev G hit it on the head as to why I am undecided. Not much else to say there.

    As to what I am looking for to decide, I will know it when I see it. Last time around it was Sarah Palin. *shiver* I simply couldn’t stand the possibility of her being a cardiac arrest away from the presidency. This time around I admit that I am leaning towards Obama simply because I’ve been impressed with how he has broken his word. Which is to say he changed his mind after seeing what closing Gitmo really meant. There are several other things but I’ll wait and see. Voting in Florida, so my vote might even matter this year.

  82. I think Mr. Obama is a decent person. But concerns regarding his lack of knowledge and experience before the 2008 election have been amply justified by his performance in office. Things haven’t been as bad as I feared, but they have been bad enough.

    Mr. Romney is an option. But quite frankly he is part of the corporatist set that dominates Washington D.C. to fund the “too big to fail” companies that continue to wreak havoc on the economy. Were Mr. Romney a capitalist, then I would have a much easier time voting for him.

    Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, possesses reasonably attractive positions on most issues. I watched him speak at the LP debates a few weeks ago and was impressed with the common sense he injected into the discussion. His support for the Fair Tax was a highlight of those debates.

    But as long as the MSM continues to muzzle the Libertarian Party so that they are excluded from the media coverage as well as the debates, Mr. Johnson’s chances of being elected are somewhere between slim and none. And ‘slim’ is with his luggage down at the train station waiting on the 603 that is due in later tonight.

    So do I register what amounts to little more than a protest vote in favor of Mr. Johnson, or do I hold my nose and vote for Mr. Romney? I supposed I’ll make up my mind when I see which way Michigan is swinging just before the election in November.

    Regards,
    Dann

  83. Most swing voters are on the fence about the economy. If this get little better, they swing more towards Obama, if they stay the same or get worse, they will swing towards Romney. His policies won’t matter. Elections with incumbents are referendums on the incumbent. Do we keep the guy we know or fire him and test out someone else. Like virtually every election, I think it will come down to 10% of the electorate and how they swing plus voter turnout for republicans and democrats.

    I don’t think the economic issues are even about ideas. I think it is about how are things going the current guy. Is his stuff working or not. If it is working, keep him, if not, fire him. I think most other issues are fodder for base. Obamacare will get people to write checks, I don’t think it will sway many swing voters.

    I know alot of liberals will go the economy sucks because Bush sucks and look at what he left me. Bush has been out of office for 4 years and like most ex-presidents stayed away from the press. This is fodder for liberals to get donations, but I don’t think it will sway many true swing voters.

    Even if you believe in your heart of hearts that the economy is bad because Bush sucks and there is a do nothing congress, I think that liberals should not expect this argument to sway many swing voters. I don’t think they care. Ok the congress is do nothing. If Obama comes out the congress will still be do nothing, so why would I take you back? It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, it matters if the economy gets better. Liberals should ry to focus on how their ideas are helping, how the recession was worse than expected, and why staying the course will lead to improvement and that a change of course will make things stay the same or get worse. This is a hard argument to sell. It is hard to win with unemployment this high, but I think it is their best argument.

  84. I’m not truely undecided, in that if you narrow the choices down to the two candidates who actually have a chance of winning, I have a clear favorite (Obama). My debate is whether or not to do what I’ve done twice previously – vote 3rd party. It’s not that big a deal, since I’m in Connecticut, which is safe Obama (another way of putting it is if Obama’s in danger of losing CT, he’s going down). Thus I get to signal my displeasure with Obama/the centrist Dem status quo by voting third party. If I were in a state that was actually in play? No way I’d take the chance. I have a long list of things done/not done by Obama & Co. that piss me off. But the GOP and I have been moving away from each other pretty much my whole adult life, and it’s now at the point that I can’t really conceive of voting GOP for national office of any kind.

  85. I am torn between Obama and Johnson. Johnson does not seem so much like the “privileged white man” type of libertarian like both of the Pauls are, but I still have more research to do on his positions. He also has the kookie libertarian ideas like “let’s eliminate the dept of education” which I do not think he would actually get away with, but would certainly not want him to. But on the other hand, he’s the only one of the three who has respect for civil rights. Obama is good if you’re a woman or gay, but otherwise he has a worse record than Bush.

    I have no hope of Obama helping the economy. Especially when he says things like last week where he said the private sector is doing well but the public sector isn’t? Excuse me but the stats don’t bear that out, nor do I know many people who are struggling that want more of their taxes going to prop up public positions (I used to work for the government and my experience was it’s all laziness and patronage)

    The only person I’m for sure not voting for is Romney. I’m registered Republican, but no way can I stomach more attacks on women and gays and minorities that the Republicans want. I’d rather have the economy tank even more. Some things are too important.

    So basically, I have to do more research on Johnson before I make up my mind completely.

  86. Hello Sir.
    I find it difficult to see how any one could already have made up their mind at this point in the election race. Race? That is a joke. I find Romney’s points interesting but historically his background is contradictory. I choose to not lengthen this response with my detailed thought on Romney, it’s already too long. I find some of Obama’s points also interesting. NOT, health care, another joke, program. Obama has at least given this country a good slap-upside-the-head and woken up, hopefully, a large part of the population to the fact that sometimes even an elected joke has a reasonable idea, sometimes. Also if you elect an “any one” you get an “any thing”.
    Now the question becomes why would the opposing party choose to put up a similar candidate to what we have is… a question for a different venue. At this time, I am still looking for a justification to not elect either of these two. “Keep what we have or elect another of the same type?” How does one make a decision like this without more of [information, justification, or go on gut feeling]? I am still looking and listening. The American population elected an Obama, could we do worse this time by electing a green party, libertarian, tea party or [fill in your thought] to the presidency? I would propose a “none of the above” choice but that would leave us back at the beginning “more of the same or…

  87. Maybe I shouldn’t post here. But I was decided until I read through all (yes, all) the comments here. I’m a born-again undecided. I can’t see voting for Romney because of his bias towards the rich and the fact he is so out-of-touch with the working class. Plus, no one has brought this up, but I’m not sure about having a Mormon president and I’m surprised given all of the stupid accusations that have been made about Obama being Muslim, that no one brings up the “Mormon Factor”. Perhaps it was because I have a MA in Religious Studies, but there are some very, very odd aspects to LDS theology, doctrine and customs. I have plenty of Mormon friends but that is not the same as representing the USA on the world stage. I don’t think I’m speaking out of prejudice but out of familiarity.

    That said, there are a lot of valid points on Obama not following through on some the principles he put forward in the 2008 that I had forgotten about. I think the point that has most rung true among all of these comments is the inability of Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together. Maybe Obama could have accomplished more if his initiatives had been dead in the water but it has led to a less than effective presidency.

    Truthfully, I really hate this PAC movement and negative campaigning and I don’t believe these groups are truly independent from the candidates. So, it might come down to which candidate has the less obscenely inaccurate campaign ads. Congress created limits to campaign contributions to avoid undue influence by the wealthy and corporate interests from influencing elections and it’s like we’ve stepped back 40 years where those with the biggest checkbooks have the loudest voice. The obnoxious inaccuracy of most of their attack ads will definitely cause a backlash on my part against whichever candidate they are promoting.

    But right now, I think I should start looking into some of the alternative candidates that other commenters have mentioned. There must be a world bigger than this endless red-blue mudfest.

  88. I am undecided between Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Obama. I will not vote for Romney. And I know it makes no difference how I vote, since our electoral college system means my entire state goes to one guy, even if 45% of its voters don’t like him. It’s really just an exercise in personal philosophy. Romney is a weathervane, and possibly a sociopath. I tend to lean libertarian, but actually like most of the ACA. So the only real debate in me is, am I both a social and fiscal liberal, or just a social one? Not sure. Plus, I strongly support the 2nd amendment, which libertarians have a better track record of supporting (well, at least hypothetically, since they’re never in power).

  89. You assume that Romney and Obama will be the candidates.
    In 1940 the 4th place Republican candidate became the nominee. Wilkie was the only Republican candidate advocating Roosevelt’s proposal for deficit financing of rearmament, a position he shared with nobody else running for the Republican nominee.
    After the French gave up and the British started negotiating with the Germans, this position wasn’t going to fly with the Republican delegates.They rioted and I do not exagerate. Congressmen were screaming “We want Wilkie!” in the aisles of the hall and throwing chairs at each other.
    If the Arctic ice cap melts down to the point where the Arctic Ocean spins up and the farm states realise what global warming really means, if the Chinese government or some group of other countries stops buying tbills to fund our imports and we have hyperinflation, if the strait of Hormuz is blocked and the most expensive armed forces in the world turn out to be a waste of money…
    The Republican national convention is August 27th.

  90. I am undecided because I vote by whatever of my pet ideas/government projects seems most under threat at the time of the election, and it’s too soon to say.

  91. I’ve decided. Romney is a fascist tax-dodging billionaire and we’ve got far too many of these already.

    Obama (No We Can’t) is just another global-financial-corporate-tool and is essentially a eunuch in a monkey suit.

    It is long past time to vote FOR something instead of the against the illusionary greater of two evils. ROCKY ANDERSON (http://www.voterocky.org/) has my vote, even if I have to write it in. Not that it will be counted, but it is nice to imagine that it will. Maybe we should get some election monitors from Haiti …

  92. Hi. I found this blog fascinating. I am a CNN reporter who is looking to speak with undecided voters in Nevada, especially if you have been unemployed. You can email me at moni.basu@cnn.com. Thanks.

  93. I am having an undecided temper tantrum because I want a better option.
    I dislike Obama for the drone program which seems to sentence people to death penalty while bypassing things like trials and jury of your peers. I dislike Romney for signing gun control legislation in Mass. but changing his stance to garner Republican support. Also he’s more likely to spark diplomatic incidents. I mean come on! Even I know you’re not supposed to admit to a meeting with MI6! But I don’t see Obama garnering the bipartisan political support necessary to change our fiscal situation. Actually I don’t see Romney gaining that same support either. I dislike our current political climate, in which voting for Option C is equatable to throwing your vote away. I hope one of the candidates will do something horribly bad so I can say “Not that guy!” but I think it unlikely at this point. I also hope one of the candidates will perform a miracle but I find that even more unlikely! Therefore in the end I don’t know whether I will vote at all.

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