Education, economy help undecideds make their choice

Voters cast their ballots as they participate in early voting November 2, 2012 at the Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Loudoun County is a swing county in a battleground state.

David Boyes has decided to vote for President Obama.

Tony Palm will vote for Mitt Romney.

Loudoun County, Virginia -- it’s a swing county in a battleground state. Today, we talk to two independent voters who were undecided. Now, one will vote for Governor Romney, while the other is supporting President Obama.

Our Obama voter is David Boyes. He owns a small, tech research firm in Ashburn, Virginia. 

I ask Boyes, why Obama? He starts by talking about why he’s not voting for Romney. He says Romney’s plan to balance the budget without raising taxes doesn’t add up.

“I’m an engineer so numbers matter," he says, "and from the plans -- what little we know about them -- the numbers just don’t work.”

Boyes also worries that Romney would cut education funding. He needs a steady stream of well-educated workers.

“One of the first things I have to do with any new employee is I have to teach them to speak and I have to teach them to write," he says. "If you can’t communicate what your findings are, you might as well not have done the research.”

Boyes said the president’s support for education was the main issue tipping him into the Obama camp.

Our Romney voter, Tony Palm, is a recruiter at a defense contractor in Loudoun County. It’s the second time I’ve interviewed Palm. The first time he was very much on the fence. Not anymore. Palm’s number one issue is the economy. He decided to vote for Romney about halfway through the second debate. When the president was asked about high gas prices. Palm was not satisfied with his answer.

“It really does come down to that," he says. "What are you paying for a gallon of gas at the pump. I was paying less than two dollars just three and a half years ago.”

Palm’s decision is also based on something less tangible. He was in the Navy for 20 years and puts a premium on leadership. He doesn’t think President Obama has been a strong leader.

“You put a leader in front of me -- a real leader and I’ll follow him into combat. I’ll put my life on the line,” he says.

Palm says he doesn’t follow parties, he follows people, and he’d switch to the Democrats in a heartbeat if a Romney administration failed to measure up.

He says, “Bada bing bada boom you’re out the door.”

Our Obama voter, David Boyes, says he’s not wedded to the Democrats, either. And both voters say they could split their tickets and vote for the other party in Virginia’s hotly contested Senate race. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

Loudoun County is a swing county in a battleground state.

David Boyes has decided to vote for President Obama.

Tony Palm will vote for Mitt Romney.

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