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Undecided Voter Explains Dilemma

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Undecided Voter Explains Dilemma

Election 2008

Undecided Voter Explains Dilemma

Undecided Voter Explains Dilemma

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Constance Griffin, 35, says she is torn between John McCain and Barack Obama. Griffin, who works with Tennessee's Department of Corrections, says she likes McCain's history of service, bit isn't hearing much on the economy. She says she likes Obama's optimism, but is unsure of his plans.


And now we're going to talk with an undecided voter who may or may not fit Andy Kohut's profile. Hi. How are you today?

Ms. CONSTANCE GRIFFIN: I'm fine sir, how are you?

SIEGEL: Fine and you should introduce yourself. Is it Constance Griffin?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Constance or Connie, most people know me as Connie.

SIEGEL: Connie Griffin, and you're joining us from work in Nashville Tennessee?


SIEGEL: And of course the most important thing, you are an undecided voter?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Very much so undecided.

SIEGEL: How old are you?

Ms. GRIFFIN: I'm 35.

SIEGEL: Well, that's younger than our poster's profile of the typical undecided voter. But you're obviously - you're a woman. How would you describe yourself by race?

Ms. GRIFFIN: I'm white.

SIEGEL: And would you consider yourself religious?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yes, very much so.

SIEGEL: Very much so.

Ms. GRIFFIN: Uh-hmm.

SIEGEL: What level of education have you achieved?

Ms. GRIFFIN: I have a technical degree and I'm very close to earning an associates degree?

SIEGEL: Close to earning an associates degree but with a high school diploma already obviously, and have a family?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yes, I'm a single mother of two.

SIEGEL: Are you a registered Republican or a registered Democrat?

Ms. GRIFFIN: I'm a registered Democrat.

SIEGEL: And did you vote in a Democratic Primary this year for president?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Actually, I voted in the Republican Primary this year.

SIEGEL: You did, for whom?

Ms. GRIFFIN: I voted for Huckabee.

SIEGEL: Well, it's come down to Obama and McCain?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yeah.

SIEGEL: Is it conceivable to you that at this late date, you still could vote for either one?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yes, and it changes almost per conversation or per article or it's very much so a seesaw effect, back and forth, back and forth as I weigh the positives and the negatives.

SIEGEL: So it's not entirely true that you are undecided. You've decided many, many times you're telling me in this, in this campaign.

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yes, that's a good analogy, yes many times.

SIEGEL: What is it that attracts - well first of all, John McCain, what is the positive part about possibly voting for McCain when you're on a McCain day?

Ms. GRIFFIN: When I'm on a McCain day, his history of service, his experience. I am not concerned about his age by any means. I like some of his views, but I really just am not hearing a lot on the economy, that positive things about what we're going to do to improve it.

SIEGEL: And when it's an Obama day and you think you might then try vote for the Democratic candidate, what are the things you like enough about Barack Obama to make that seem plausible?

Ms. GRIFFIN: His sense of optimism. He has a strong sense of optimism and a message of hope. He says this is how I would like things to be. Well I understand he would like to provide free education and he would like to lower taxes on the working class, but let's be realistic in today's economy and today's society and tell me your plans.

SIEGEL: So your question about the practicality of the Obama plans, that's a negative there and your question about not enough on the economy is a negative for McCain.

Ms. GRIFFIN: For both sides, it really is. When McCain actually talks about it what I hear is the same thing, the same that we have already had. You know, look around it is not working. This whole Bailout thing, hey, nobody is bailing me out. I go to work and I pay my bills.

SIEGEL: Well speaking of financial decisions are you a homeowner? Do you have a mortgage that reset recently or a huge credit card debt? What are things like for you?

Ms. GRIFFIN: What are things OK. Things are like for me because I am a budget. I have at one point, I did have a past bankruptcy and I learned from that mistake. Nobody bailed me out and I did repay most of that and 80% of my bankruptcy was medical bills.

SIEGEL: Really, really?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Yes it was. And there was nobody there to help we had to pull ourselves up and do it ourselves. And yes I do own my home but I went in and I bought property that I could afford. And I did have people pushing me, trying to get - I only make $23,000 a year, yet they were trying sell me $100,000.

SIEGEL: And telling you could have the loan if you needed it

Ms. GRIFFIN: Absolutely.

SIEGEL: Qualified, despite a past bankruptcy even.

Ms. GRIFFIN: Absolutely. And, you know, I just looked at them and just said, no. Just because I can afford to make the payment on this home, what's going to happen if I lose my job? What's going to happen if my car tears up? What's going to happen if I have to replace the roof?

SIEGEL: Well I'm curious you remain undecided. Or as we have concluded you have decided a multiple of times. Are your friends, neighbors, family, have they all typically gone one way or do you day-to-day meet people who were on the one hand supporting McCain and other supporting Obama?

Ms. GRIFFIN: My family is split right down the middle.

SIEGEL: Right down the middle?

Ms. GRIFFIN: Right down the middle. My grandparents have always voted Democrat and they will continue to vote Democrat because that's what their party says. They very much vote down party lines. And then there's the others that are going to vote Republican because that's what they do. And they have the other family members like me. We don't know what we're doing. I honestly don't know. Pray, and when I walk in, and there's my little punch board in front of me, I'll just make my decision.

SIEGEL: OK. Constance Griffin, thank you very much.

Ms. GRIFFIN: Thank you.

SIEGEL: Ms. Griffin spoke to us from work in Nashville. She lives in McEwan, Tennessee, and works for the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

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