Undecided voters: It’s about who I hate less
NEW YORK — Maria Garcia thinks there’s only one way to explain America’s presidential election: “I’ve never seen this before in my life.”
Like many Americans, Garcia doesn’t care for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. For months, the Orlando, Florida resident has been pondering and praying about what to do on Election Day.
She’s one of the few remaining undecideds in the critical state of Florida where both of the leading candidates are spending millions on ads. Garcia is Cuban-American. She was born on the island, but fled when Fidel Castro came to power. She’s been a U.S. citizen since 1976.
“I just don’t want Hillary in power,” she told CNNMoney. “But Trump is not promising either.”
For now, Garcia believes her best option is not to vote. It would be the first time in 40 years she would leave the presidential ballot blank.
Garcia’s family is torn. Her husband, Miguel, plans to vote for Trump, despite his feelings that the GOP candidate “isn’t a true Republican.” Their two grown daughters are voting for Clinton.
CNNMoney interviewed over 80 voters in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania in September. We circled back with the undecided voters this week.
Why I’m leaning Trump
The vast majority of them have made up their minds about who they will NOT vote for on Nov. 8. Now it’s down to whether they can hold their nose and push the button for the other candidate.
Bruce Davis lives in Pike County, Ohio, a place Mitt Romney won by a single vote in 2012. He was undecided in September. He’s always been independent-minded, and drinks regularly with one buddy who supports Trump and another who is a Clinton supporter.
Davis voted for President Obama both times, but he can’t stomach Clinton. He can’t get past her many email issues.
“It really sticks in my craw. It seems like a general disregard [for protocol] and arrogancy,” he told CNNMoney.
Davis isn’t a fan of Trump, but he sees him as someone who will “shake up the status quo.”
“Anything that makes the majority of the politicians uncomfortable in Washington may be a good thing,” he says.
I might write in…
Scott Hammond also lives in Pike County. He’s “disgusted” with the options this year, but he’s made up his mind to be in the “Never Trump” camp. He compares the Trump campaign to a Jerry Springer special.
“More than likely, I will vote for Clinton. But right now, I wouldn’t commit to that,” Hammond, 49, told CNNMoney Wednesday. He’s considering a write in.
A life-long union guy, Hammond is getting a lot of pressure to vote for Clinton. But he’s the business manager of the Boilmakers Local 105 in southern Ohio. His livelihood — and the jobs of everyone he helps represent — depend on coal-fired power plants.
He’s just not sure he can tick the box for Clinton after her remark in a CNN town hall earlier this year that, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Why I’m leaning Clinton
Jeff Crosby of Cleveland, Ohio, says he doesn’t trust either candidate. He thought about voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson, but after Johnson flubbed a question about war-torn Aleppo, Syria in an interview with MSNBC, he decided he couldn’t do it.
It’s down to Clinton or Trump.
“If I have to pick between a criminal and someone who’s mentally unstable, I think I’m going for the criminal,” Crosby says.
Crosby, age 38, works with at-risk youth in a mostly African-American neighborhood of east Cleveland. He did jail time himself and hugely regrets his earlier life choices when he was part of a gang.
“I’m voting for the best of two evils,” Crosby says. It’s a line so many have told CNNMoney this year.
How women view Trump
For many American women, including Lizbeth Martell of Kissimmee, Florida, and Angie Shanks of Waverly, Ohio, the 2005 tape that surfaced of Trump making extremely lewd and sexually aggressive comments about women was shocking.
It was a deciding factor for Martell, who early on had been excited to see Trump jump in the race because of his business background. Martell’s family owns a popular Puerto Rican restaurant in central Florida. They work every day of the year, except Thanksgiving Day.
“Then [Trump] opened his mouth and that was really unfortunate to see who he really is,” she told CNNMoney. Martell voted early for Clinton in Florida.
Shanks is also a small business owner. She runs a real estate firm in southern Ohio, an area she describes as “struggling, but surviving.” She voted for President Obama, but is upset that her health insurance has tripled since Obamacare took effect.
“Trump is a wild card,” Shanks says. But as she looks around her town — a place where businesses have closed and heroin addiction is rampant among the town’s mostly white unemployed population — she’s willing to roll the dice.
“Things do need to change, especially for our little community here,” she believes.