Who do undecided voters want as president?

Benton Harbor resident Tyrone Davis says he is among those finding it hard to choose a presidential candidate Nov. 8. Davis says he is looking to Monday's debate for answers. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

Benton Harbor resident Tyrone Davis says he is among those finding it hard to choose a presidential candidate Nov. 8. Davis says he is looking to Monday’s debate for answers. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

James Fastiggi wants to make the right decision at the polls in November.

However, the St. Joseph resident is having trouble picking between the two major party candidates.

“Both of them have jaded pasts,” Fastiggi said when questioned in downtown St. Joseph. “With Hillary (Clinton), she has more experience, but she’s had to deal with the email controversy. We’re aware of Mr. (Donald) Trump’s history, who kind of shoots from the hip. I’d like to see him take a substantial stance on specific issues.”

The first presidential debate Monday should give Fastiggi and millions of other voters some answers.

While many Americans have made up their minds about which presidential candidate they’ll vote for, about 5 percent remain undecided. Polling indicates most of these undecided voters are not politically aligned with either party and strongly dislike both candidates.

According to a poll by NBC – the network that will host the presidential debate Monday night – Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican nominee Donald Trump by 6 points among likely voters heading into the debate.

Several voting analysts believe undecided voters like Fastiggi will be the deciding factor Nov. 8.

In years past there have been more issues on the table, Fastiggi said. However, this time around it’s been about personality. As a result, the nation seems to be more divided than ever. For this reason, Fastiggi said he feels his decision has become a tough one to make.

“I’m not crazy about her because she’s not conservative enough,” Fastiggi said. “I would really like to see someone more conservative. But at the same time Trump doesn’t seem to have a real stance. He sort of goes where the wind goes, and that concerns me.”

Undecided voters that have been polled normally have three responses. Either they won’t vote, haven’t decided between Trump or Clinton, or will choose a third-party candidate.

Voters who chose the third response will be disappointed to know Clinton and Trump will be the only candidates participating at Monday’s debate. Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein were not invited to the debate because they needed to average 15 percent in five national polls, according to rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Johnson is polling at 8 percent while Stein has 2 percent in the NBC poll.

No dealbreakers

Stephanie Sanders doesn’t know who to vote for. When watching the debate Monday night, the Eau Claire resident said there’s nothing either candidate can do to make her think more positively of them.

She said they both have shown troubling characteristics – the way Clinton has dealt with the Benghazi fallout and how Trump has made fun of various ethnicities.

“I think one’s on a power trip and I think the other one is full of crap,” Sanders said in reference to Trump and Clinton, respectively. “I’ve always been a Clinton supporter, but so much stuff has come out. In the end, if Donald Trump says the right things, he’ll probably be the one I vote for.”

Tyrone Davis of Benton Harbor said he’s not so much focused on the candidates as he is on their economic philosophies.

“I want to hear them talk about finances,” Davis said in downtown Benton Harbor. “Both candidates need to talk about addressing the cost of living and wage freezes. I still haven’t picked one, but I do plan on voting.”

Randy Wilson of Indianapolis, questioned in St. Joseph, said when he watches the debate Monday night, he wants to hear facts that seem logical or reasonable. With a moderator for the debate and fact checkers, Wilson might get his wish.

Wilson said it’s been harder to stay updated during this presidential election because everything been more negative than previous elections.

“The biggest question mark for them is trust. I’m not sure either one of them can be trusted at this point,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to be able to trust one of these candidates to run a country.”

Benton Harbor resident Micah Goss said he’s considering Clinton, but said he hopes the next few presidential debates will help him settle on a candidate.

When both candidates speak at the debate, which will be at Hofstra University in New York, Goss wants to see how both candidates intend to address job growth while in office.

“I want to hear what they can do for us,” Goss said. “I know a lot of people who are most concerned with the economy and don’t want to see another recession.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 23, 2016)

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