Interviews with swing-state voters: The Virginia woman whose vote was swayed by a chart

November 5, 2012

From now until election day, Wonkblog will be interviewing decided and undecided voters from swing states about how they view the election. Joni is a 54-year-old Democrat who lives in Virginia. 

Sarah Kliff: Tell me how you're feeling about the election and who you'll vote for this year.

Joni: This has been a tough one. I voted for Obama in 2008. I've been a Democrat for a long time. The last Republican I voted for was Reagan. I'm really torn about this one. I do think that Mitt, as a business man, might be able to get the economy going. But I'm probably going to go ahead and vote Obama.

SK: Why?

J: I think he deserves four more years. During the first four years he's been cleaning up a mess. He deserves four more years.

SK: How do you think Obama did in his first four years?

J: On a scale of one to ten, I would give him a six or seven. I never expected perfection. Plus he’s had a Republican Congress that’s been stopping everything he’s wanting push forward. I was a big Hillary supporter. I wanted a female president. One of these days.

SK: What do you think of the big role that women's health issues have played in this election? Is that an issue that's important for you?

J: The women's issues are definitely important. I don't think I could vote Republican no matter how much I like Mitt. The party seems so anti-woman. They're trying to take birth control away. I can't go there. I think abortion should always be available to women who need it.  

SK: How do you think Romney and Obama would be different as presidents?

J: I do think Romney would extend Bush's policies. It’d be business as usual; not much representation for the middle class. He’s a billionaire who is out of touch with normal people. One thing I do like from Obama, he understands the middle class much more.

SK: When we started off, you said you were torn on the candidates. From what you're saying though, it sounds like you're pretty decided on Obama.  Were there certain factors that had you thinking about voting against him? 

J: I think the unemployment issue. I'm not seeing much improvement there. I do feel like this election, for me, is all about the economy. Four years ago it was the war. I voted against the war when I voted for Obama. Now it's the economy, and I think that's why some people are undecided. It's been a hard election for me personally. 

Most the people where I live are Republicans. They're all convinced that Romney would make a better president for the economy to improve.

SK: Are there certain things you've seen or read about the candidates that have helped you make up your mind?

J: I've tried to read as much as I can. I've seen all kinds of charts. I try and look up what is truth and what is fiction. I'm still kind of torn. 

SK: What kinds of charts have you seen?

J: I  was reading something, you know, where there were charts and graphs, and more charts and graphs. There was one that showed how more jobs were lost under Bush than Obama. The Obama side showed not much gain but not much loss.

I think part of this is that this is a world recession. We've gotten tapped out of resources. I don't think the bad economy is really anybody's fault; everybody is having problems. There's no new frontier left except space.

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