scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Undecided voters laud Romney’s performance, but want more detail

Mitt Romney drew cheers at the Republican National Convention, but some voters remain on the fence.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Leslie Seal, a Colorado voter still vacillating between her choices for president, sought clarity Thursday from Mitt Romney — seeking something in his words, in his demeanor, even in his eyes — to persuade her that he will be the right man to entrust with the future of a troubled nation.

“Americans have a choice, a decision,” Romney said as he accepted his party’s nomination for president.

A tough and agonizing decision, indeed, for Seal and the millions of other voters who have yet to choose sides.

When Romney finished speaking, Seal remained on the fence, though impressed with what she heard from the former Massachusetts governor.


“I think he gave a strong speech. It was solid,” said Seal, who works for an aerospace firm. “It’s possible he can get us back on the right track.”

When Romney said he wants to create 12 million jobs, she wanted to hear more.

But in the end, she said, “I still want to listen to what Obama has to say.”

A Rasmussen Poll released Thursday estimated that just 5 percent of likely voters remain undecided about the race. With the race a statistical tossup between Romney and President Obama, the battle will depend on swaying the minds of these undecided voters in Colorado and a handful of other states, including Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

Seal was one of a handful of undecided voters the Globe contacted after Romney’s speech. For Seal, the decision will be settled by how each candidate addresses her core issues: the environment, health care, and the economy. “They are so much on the opposite side of things,” she said, “and I’m smack right down the middle.”

In Pickerington, Ohio, Paul Stearns was hoping to hear from a leader who would unite the nation in polarized times.


“What he says in his speech is one thing, but what else he says on the stump is going to be important,” Stearns said. Besides, there is one more speech to hear, that of Obama at the Democratic convention .

Stearns was swayed by Romney’s performance.

“I have less doubt now,” Stearns said. “I think he’s become more focused. He’s showing more confidence. Up to now he’s basically been waffling.”

Stearns remained concerned about “politicians promising one thing and doing another thing.”

Stearns cofounded “the Undivided House,” a group whose members have “the common purpose of bringing about the return of respectability in American governance and accountability.”

He said Romney has not produced a plan with specific prescriptions for reviving the economy. But Thursday, Romney hit many of the right notes.

“He brought things to the table. It was more definitive.’’

Romney routinely touts his business acumen as his leading qualification for running the country, but Stearns, a businessman for more than four decades, remains unconvinced.

Stearns said Romney has not produced a plan with specific prescriptions for reviving the economy. But he has been unimpressed with Obama’s handling of the country’s woes.

Others like Nelson Adams, a teacher from Clermont, Fla., thought Romney played it safe.

“He didn’t give specific plans for undecided and independent voters,” Adams said. “He got a big applause when he talked about free enterprise, and helping businesses become successful. But there wasn’t that kind of detail I was hoping for. There was a plan to create 12 million jobs, but he didn’t explain how he’d do it.”


For the uncommitted, “it will boil down to the last weeks of the campaign,” said Paul Beck, a political scientist at Ohio State University.

“The question is: Who are these people? Typically they are younger, and don’t have a lot of experience with the voting process,” Beck said. “They are people who, for the most part, don’t pay attention to politics. And they will be affected by superficial things — like negative ads, debates, and convention speeches.”

Bobby Caina Calvan can be reached at