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Still Undecided in Des Moines

DES MOINES--With the Iowa caucus only three weeks away, patrons of the Waveland Cafe in Des Moines are now deluged with political messages. Campaign commercials come by the dozens each day and so do the phone calls. Their mailboxes fill every day with the printed literature of the candidates.

And yet, many of those interviewed on a frigid morning this week said they still had not made up their minds fully. That is the Iowa way. The people in this state are famous for waiting until the very end to decide who they think should be the presidential nominees. And even when they do decide, they often change their minds. Candidates who take early support for granted often learn to regret it.

Tia Rodemeyer, 22, a barista at a coffee shop, and Chris Ford, an electrical engineer, are both Democrats. Rodemeyer likes Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, but his staff's persistence in getting her to volunteer has been a turnoff. Ford likes the idea of a change, but isn't sure whether he will caucus.

David McKenzie, 46, is an executive at a non-profit organization. He said he's registered as a Republican but hasn't voted that way in eight years. "At some point, I ought to change it," he said. "I like the concept of change with Obama. He brings a lot of newness to what's happening."

Mark Joyce, 34, is a lobbyist at the Iowa statehouse. A Republican, he says he is looking for someone who is moderate, not extreme. "Fiscal conservative," he said. Asked which of the Republican candidates he likes, he said, "I like them all."

--Michael D. Shear

See more from the Waveland in Des Moines and the Red Arrow in Manchester, N.H. here.

By Editors  |  December 14, 2007; 5:25 PM ET
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