Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meet our undecided voters panel

This week The Charlotte Observer has enlisted five undecided voters in the Charlotte area as citizen correspondents. We want to know where they stand politically, what issues are important to them and what they think about the Democratic National Convention.

Each night they'll be watching the big speeches and sharing their reactions with us, so be sure to look here or in the paper for their responses each day.

So, with no further ado... ladies and gentlemen, meet our panelists!

Michael Henning
A self-proclaimed political junkie, Michael Henning is excited to have the DNC in Charlotte. "It's kind of cool to poke around and get on Twitter and see what people are saying," he said.
He's the senior territory manager for U.S. Foods, a company that provides foodstuffs to a number of uptown restaurants in Charlotte. He said the convention is a little "financially inconvenient," but not enough to make him bitter.
The 41-year-old is a registered Democrat, but he said 2008 was the first time he voted that way.
"I don't regret the vote that I cast last time, but like a lot of people I'm not really happy with where we are."
His biggest concern right now, he said, is that neither candidate seems to have a clear plan. Goals are good, he said, but he wants to know the "game plan." Republican politicians didn't lay out specific policies last week, he said, and he hopes the Obama administration will do a better job.
"The last time Obama ran it was all about hope and change and ideas," Henning said. "But this time around I'm looking for specific details: What are we going to do to get the economy moving?"
Economically conservative but socially liberal, he said he feels torn. But this year, he said, the economic issues are probably going to outweigh the social issues.

Meredith Firgueroa
Meredith Figueroa only has one word to describe her political sentiment right now: scared.
She isn't thrilled with Obama's performance the past four years, but said she's worried Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will take away her rights.
Women's rights -- namely the right to abortion -- she said are particularly important.
"What a woman does with her body is between her and God," she said.
She's also socially liberal, she said, like education and gay marriage.
Nevertheless, Obama hasn't won her vote yet.
"I don't think he's living up to full potential," Figueroa said. "I wan to see him step up and say, 'Hey, I'm going to do whatever it takes to get this done.'
"I want to know he's all in."
The 40-year-old mother of three said that having the DNC in Charlotte  is "fantastic for the economy" and might help her warm up to the Democratic party this year.
"I know many of my friends are cranky about it," she said with a laugh. "But they're Republican anyway."

Jamaal Abdul-Awwal
Last election season Jamaal Abdul-Awwal, 31,  voted confidently for Ron Paul, but this year he's on the fence.
"The way politics has gone now it's not so much about floating along party lines," he said. "It's about issues."
He said he aligns with different parties on different issues. But the bottom line is that he wants a president who gets things done.
"They just need to try something," he said. "If it doesn't work, OK, we'll try something else. But try something."
It's important that the Obama administration get specific during the DNC, he said. He doesn't want to hear a vague, motivational speech -- he wants steps one, two and three.
He also wants to hear the president defend his accomplishments and review the progress his administration made.
He's unemployed right now (his new job starts in a few weeks) and he said he plans to spend some of his free time visiting uptown this week to witness the excitement first hand.
"You never know, you might be somewhere eating a sandwich and in walks Joe Biden and you sit down and he tells you some great plan they have," he said. "You just never know."

Jaimie McConnell
The economy is the big issue for Jaimie McConnell, 30, and she said she hopes the DNC will bring new jobs to Charlotte -- particularly those in the housing market.
Her husband works in construction, and their young family has been "greatly affected" by the recession.
Neither Obama nor Romney, she said, have convinced her they're right for the job.
"I keep joking that I'm going to write somebody in."
She said she's bothered by all the politics involved in decision making and feels the candidates' words are almost always scripted.
"Right now what I'm really looking for is for them to show that they think for themselves, that they are human, that they're going to do what is honestly best for people -- not what they're just being pushed to do."
She supports a woman's right to abortion and said she doesn't think the government should regulate who can marry, but she said social issues aren't the crux of this election.
"If you can't eat and you're losing your house, then I don't care if two people down the street can't marry," she said.
The economy impacts her family more than social issues right now, she said, and looking out for her family is what's most important.

-- Melissa Abbey


Anonymous said...

These people do not appear to be undecided to me. I honestly do not believe anyone can be so confused and uninformed about the issues at this late date. They are either lazy, left wingers in disguise, or lack the ability to understand where we are and what Obama has done to date. You can call them undecided if you want but in my opinion they are far from it. These people need a ticket to 2016 Obama's America!

CuriousGeorge said...

You state that there are five undecideds, but I only count four! Am I missing something?

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