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At Polling Station, Voters Torn Between Two Candidates


Primary election voters cast their votes in Pa., April 22, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Krissah Williams
GLENSIDE, Pa. -- "So, who'd you vote for?!" Richard Keyser's kids shouted at him as he left the voting booth at old Glenside Fire Station just before 9 a.m.

"Obama," he confessed. "I thought Hillary communicated her policies more clearly and with detail but I still didn't find her forthright."

Lucy, 10, and Sam, 7, jumped up and down. They fell for the senator from Illinois months ago mostly because they think he's cool.

Their parents were a harder sell. Keyser and his wife Missy, both 47 years old, are among the 8 percent of voters in this much anticipated primary who are late deciders. There is one shared refrain among voters here this morning: "I went back and forth."

A 20-minute drive outside of Philadelphia in vote rich Montgomery County, the town of Glenside (population 8,000) is a window into the critical battleground of Philadelphia's suburbs today. The Keyser family is just one example of the folks here who will determine whether Clinton posts an overwhelming victory -- or gives Obama the win in an upset.

Local Democrats see potential for both candidates to do well here. Obama has the backing of State Rep. Chaka Fattah and Clinton the support of Gov. Ed Rendell, who is popular here.
The demographics break in both directions. The town is 89 percent white and fairly evenly split between young and old -- with 30 percent of the population from 25 to 44, and 25 percent older. The median income is $59,000, according to the latest Census figures.

Missy Keyser, who works as a personal chef, leaned toward Sen. Hillary Clinton after the debate last week. She saw Clinton's command of the issues and confidence, and thought, she says, that she would vote for her.

"I think Hillary did much better," Missy said sipping coffee from a mug after casting her ballot. "This is a very tenuous time."

Then Missy stopped to think again, and changed her mind again. She read the Sunday newspapers, went back to the candidates' websites and listened to her children and decided she'd vote for Obama.

"My kids talk about it constantly," she said. "There needs to be a fresh start, [and] I've got to go with the future for my children."

Victoria Egertow, 26, who voted just before the Keysers, said she had a tough time making up her mind, too. But after watching the debate last week she couldn't get the sliding economy off her mind. Gas is $3.52 a gallon here.

"I really feel like Hillary is a lot clearer with her plans," Egertow said. "Obama skirted some of the issues. I voted for Hillary."

The back-and-forth continued at the coffee shop up the road from the polling station. An Obama supporter came in wearing his buttons. When she left, a woman whispered to her friend.

"I voted for him but I'm sort of apologizing, but if I voted for her I'd be saying the same thing," she said. "Everybody's all over the map."

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 22, 2008; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton , Primaries  
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