November 03, 2012

what tribe do these people belong to . . . ?

Some swing voters spell out their indecision on their checks . . .
Meet the undecided donors. They are not lobbyists or other members of the political class — donors with a professional imperative to hedge their bets — but ordinary voters whose back-and-forth donations mirror the undulations of the swing electorate.

Some have attended small fund-raisers for both men, curious to hear what the candidates’ more ardent supporters have to say. Others have responded to the campaigns’ daily barrages of e-mail solicitations, or to the ups and downs of the candidates’ debate performances and public gaffes. Still others said they simply could not make up their minds.

“I’m all mixed up between being a conservative and a liberal,” said Kurt Schoeneman, a grape grower from Northern California, who added that some of his friends thought he was “senile.” He had found himself seized by waves of enthusiasm, Mr. Schoeneman said — first for one candidate and then for the other.

“Some of these people, they just loathe Obama, and they’ll write something really nasty about him,” said Mr. Schoeneman, who has given checks to both candidates, most recently $100 to Mr. Romney in June and $100 to Mr. Obama in July. “And then something else will happen, and I’ll go give Romney some money.”

Charles Y. Chen, a salesman in Virginia, gave Mr. Romney $100 on the day of his convention speech in late August. But in September, Mr. Chen donated to Mr. Obama every few days, $50 here, $55 there. Then he switched again, giving Mr. Romney $50.

“I think the Republicans have better ideas on the economy and the Democrats have better ideas on social issues, immigration and social justice,” Mr. Chen said in an interview. “Just like anything, both have something that they do great and something that they need to improve.”

Gretchen Davidson, a homemaker in Birmingham, a Detroit suburb, said she had gone to several events to hear different ideas and arguments. She gave $500 to Mr. Romney in early August and $1,500 to Mr. Obama in late September.

“You have friends that throw parties on each side, and honestly, I am someone in the middle that didn’t really know which way I was going,” Ms. Davidson said. “You try to sort of see what people are so excited about.”

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