Friday, October 13, 2006

Here We Go Again . . . 23 Days Before the Elections and . . . .

. . . . Undecided voters still are not sure how to vote.

It's going to be like 2004, when the night before the election the undecideds still hadn't made up their minds. Whichever side gets to them last is how these people select who they'll vote for.

The AP reports:
More than two weeks of campaigning by Pennsylvania's candidates for U.S. Senate produced some movement -- but no firm decisions -- on an Associated Press panel of undecided voters.

Of the nine panelists who had not made up their minds as of Sept. 22, seven said in telephone interviews during the past week that they remained uncertain about whether to back incumbent Republican Rick Santorum or his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey.

Attempts to reach the other two undecided panelists were unsuccessful.

A panel of 10 registered and likely voters was randomly identified in a poll by Franklin & Marshall College in August. The AP is reporting periodically on how they are making up their minds as the Nov. 7 election approaches. One panelist already has decided to vote for Santorum.

Among the seven interviewed in the latest round, three panelists said they would support Santorum if the election were held today and three said they would back Casey, a gain of two since Sept. 22. The other panelist, who previously leaned toward Santorum, now is unsure.

Even the panelists leaning toward Casey, however, said they were influenced less by his attributes than by their disenchantment with Santorum's record and campaign promises.

"I'm not seeing a real clear message come out of the guy. I'm seeing a lot of political posturing," said David Katz, an engineer and registered Republican who lives in Hummelstown.

Kathleen Karcher, a Democrat who said in late September she could not decide which candidate to support had the election been held then, said she is leaning toward Casey now because of Santorum's negative advertising and his position on gun control.

"He was obviously not interested in what guns are doing to the population," said Karcher, 70, a retired clerk from Blue Bell.

Thomas Painter, a warehouse worker from Waynesboro, is leaning toward Santorum and said he would cast a ballot for Casey only as a protest if he cannot bring himself to vote Republican.

"The Republicans have many, many issues that they can't continue" to blame on the Democrats, he said.

Santorum has trailed Casey in independent polling in a year in which GOP candidates face increasingly tough odds, due to factors that include the unpopular Iraq war and public criticism of the Republican-controlled Congress. Santorum is the Senate's No. 3 Republican leader.

Since the first round of interviews, a state judge has thrown Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli off the Senate ballot.

Jack McLaughlin, 48, of Pittsburgh, teacher, registered independent.

If election held today, would vote for: Unsure.

Quote: "I'm pretty disgusted in general. I don't like either of them."


David Katz, 39, of Hummelstown, engineer, registered Republican.

If election held today, would vote for: Casey.

Quote: "If I don't know what the guy (Santorum) stands for, it's hard to be a representative democracy."


Kathleen Karcher, 70, of Blue Bell, retired clerk, registered Democrat.

If election held today, would vote for: Casey.

Quote: "I guess I'm leaning toward Casey, but I really haven't heard too much (of) what Casey has to say."


Doris Jones, 76, of Carlisle, retired office worker, registered Republican.

If election held today, would vote for: Santorum.

Quote: "At least (Santorum) is talking and I've heard him a few times. You just don't hear a lot out of Casey."


Dirk Musselman, 50, of Pine Grove, vocational teacher, registered Republican.

If election held today, would vote for: Casey.

Quote: "If I were going to the polls tonight, it would be Casey."


Thomas Painter, 36, of Waynesboro, warehouse worker, registered Republican.

If election held today, would vote for: Santorum.

Quote: "If I ultimately vote for (Casey), it'll be a direct reaction of choosing not to vote for Sen. Santorum."


Kim Kovacs, 32, of Albion, homemaker, registered Republican.

If election held today, would vote for: Santorum.

My first reaction after having seen this story was to suggest that if people still haven't made up their minds by now, they don't understand the issues and what's at stake and have no business voting.

Then I saw this videotape. The two candidates met to debate on Thursday, and a bigger waste of time would be hard to find. Here's a highlight or more accurately, a low point:

I better understand these undecided voters - it's hard to believe that Bob Casey is the best that Pennsylvania Democrats could come up with, and that our fellow Americans in Pennsylvania are so backward that they would ever Rick Santorum to the U.S. Senate in the first place. But again, the videotape tells the story: KDKA-TV had the candidates standing six inches apart? KDKA-TV couldn't afford another camera?

Note to Pennsylvanians: Get it the hell together.

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