Campaign '08: The Undecideds

(CBS)
Kelly Wallace is a CBS News correspondent based in New York.
It may be hard to believe that after back to back conventions, months of campaigning and a 24/7 news cycle covering every political play, some voters are still undecided. Stumped. Not sure which way to go. Voters like 58-year-old Linda Brode, who we profile tonight on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

"I have no clue who to vote for and I usually make up my mind by now," she told me with a laugh last week when we visited Tamaqua, Penn., a small, working class town in a key battleground state.

Consider her story – she's a registered Republican who voted for Bill Clinton and George Bush. My producer, Alberto Moya, was at her home when she watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. "If the vote was Tuesday and it was November 4th, I would vote for [Obama]," she told Alberto at the time. "Absolutely with all my heart."

But then she heard Sarah Palin's speech and John McCain's and said she needed to see all the candidates square off in the debates to make her decision. "There are going to be a lot of people watching those debates and making up their mind then," she said.

Isn't it great to hear how engaged people like Linda are in this election, how they are trying to educate themselves about the candidates and the issues and watch the debates to ultimately decide who gets their vote?

During the debates, Linda says she'll be looking for specifics on the issues, her top ones are national security and the economy. "I want to feel safe, I want to know how hard we are all working, [that] there's going to be light at the end of the tunnel," she said. She'll also be looking at how each candidate handles the issues and themselves during the high-stakes encounters.

Think of the power that voters like Linda Brode have right now. With just about one in 10 voters undecided, according to the latest CBS News poll, and with the race a dead heat, Linda and her fellow undecided voters could ultimately swing the election.

We'll be checking in with her after the first presidential debate on September 26 and the first vice presidential debate on October 2. We'll let you know whether Linda has ultimately made up her mind.
  • Kelly Wallace

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