The night before the polls opened in this sparsely populated swing state, Shane Palmer, 44, was waiting for an epiphany. He knew it was time to cast his ballot for President Obama or Mitt Romney.

But he was still undecided.

Palmer, a married father of two, had been mulling over his choice for weeks, even as long lines formed for early voting across the Las Vegas region, even as more than 70 percent of the state’s expected voters cast their ballots. He took his time. The polls, the debates and the endless campaign ads didn’t sway him.

In a city known for its glitz and excess — for its risk and rush — Palmer, a manager of a car dealership, was contemplative, weighing it all.

He is a recent transplant to Nevada from Texas, a registered Republican who had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.

“But I like Obama,” he said, sipping an iced coffee at an outdoor suburban shopping center on a warm fall day. He even liked Obama’s health-care plan, he said, although his friends would gasp if they heard him say that.

His problem with the Republican candidate was “that super-rich thing.” He wondered, “Can Romney really understand what it’s like to be a common American — someone who’s gone through a job loss?” He doubted Romney knew how much a dozen eggs cost or the price of milk.

But Obama was not a simple choice, either. Palmer was still bothered by the fiery pastor of the church that Obama had attended in Chicago before he was president. And he differed with Obama on immigration. “It’s important that my values match up with his,” he said.

He slept on it one more time. He did not have an epiphany. But he decided.

As Election Day grew dark in many places across the country, Palmer cast a single, much-considered ballot at an elementary school.

He had never voted for a Democrat to lead the country and noted that he watches Fox News more than CNN. “But sometimes,” Palmer said, “you have to give the guy more than four years to finish what he started.”

He voted for Obama.

Donna St. George