Undecided Voters Key to 'Super Tuesday' Vote in Ohio

Attendees listen to Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum as he speaks at the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 3, 2012.
Attendees listen to Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum as he speaks at the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 3, 2012.

Perhaps the most important Republican primary contest on "Super Tuesday"is Ohio - a “swing” state that has voted both Democratic and Republican in presidential elections. And just days before Tuesday's vote, many Republican voters still have not decided which presidential hopeful they would like to see as their party's nominee.

“This is an incredible opportunity we have to exercise the rights that God has given us, but also our civic responsibility and our spiritual responsibility,” said Pastor Matt Keller, Sunday morning at Calvary Bible Baptist Church is Westerville, Ohio.

Dave Sexton, a student pastor, says a candidate's morality and traditional values are most important. He says he probably will vote for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, but with reservations.

“I would love to see if there were a true both fiscal and moral conservative person running, and I don't know that we have that candidate in the race,” said Sexton.

The economy is the key issue for most voters in this Midwestern state dotted with farms and manufacturing plants that have shed jobs in recent years.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum are leading in public opinion surveys here.

At a Santorum rally outside of Cincinnati, voters say they admire Santorum's traditional values. But voter George Brown says he wants to be sure about Santorum's appeal. He says a candidate will need charisma to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

“I just want to see how Rick would react in person with a crowd, see how personable he is, just to kind of get a better feel for it,” said Brown.

Wyatt Baker attended Mitt Romney's casual dinner event held in downtown Cincinnati.

“Being busy with college and stuff, it's kind of hard for me to get the big picture-type thing," said Baker. "But from the bits and pieces I've seen, I'm a Mitt supporter as of now.”

A recent public opinion survey shows that 43 percent of Ohio voters are uncertain who will get their vote.

That is even the case among very politically engaged people at a Delaware County Republican Party dinner, just outside of Columbus.

“I really haven't made up my mind yet, honestly," said Jeff Benton, a retired banker."There are parts or aspects of the each of the four candidates that I really like and some that I'm bothered by.”

Voters usually place more importance on economic issues rather than on social policies when they cast their ballots, says political scientist Jennifer Lawless of American University in Washington.

“Mitt Romney is certainly seen as more credible than Santorum on the economy," she said."Rick Santorum is seen as more credible as the true social conservative.”

And both men are looking to win over these undecided voters who could tip the balance on Tuesday.

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