Election Day: The Late Deciders

CHELSEA, Ala. – “Who’d I vote for?” Sharon Gregory asked. “What do you want to know?” photo (22) She was a little unready to explain the choice, because she made up her mind in the voting both. “I went for Romney,” she said. “The newspapers and other media keep saying he’s the only one who can beat Obama. I’d really like to vote for Newt Gingrich, but I don’t think he’s electable. I voted for McCain last time. Well. We know how that went.” She didn’t quite regret that choice. “Obama won last time because people didn’t understand what he meant by ‘fundamental change’ of government.”
Voting was brisk, the polls pretty barren. We were in Shelby County, the whiter, more Republican suburbs next to Birmingham, where I was having trouble finding anyone breaking for Rick Santorum. I met Romney voters and people passionate about Newt Gingrich. “He’s going to fight for our values,” said Karen Henderson, a homemaker, who voted for Gingrich alongside her husband Robert. “Romney reminds me of Obama, actually. Just not trustworthy.” Why rule out Santorum? “I agree with him, actually,” said Rick. “I think he and I have the same conservative values. But I don’t think he’d win if he was the candidate.”
If enough of their peers go for Gingrich, and rule out Santorum, this will be yet another day that puts final victory out of Santorum’s reach.