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Undecided voters not swayed by final debate

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 2:35 p.m. MDT

Skye Hodges talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Skye Hodges talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of eight undecided voters said they still hadn't made up their minds after watching the third and final debate between President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney.

But the voters, assembled through a random survey by Lighthouse Research, a local marketing firm, appeared to be leaning more toward Romney during a discussion with reporters after the debate.

"Obama talks a good talk. That's how he became president. He made a lot of promises at the beginning," said William Sullivan, a businessman from Lehi.

Those promises haven't panned out, he said, especially when it comes to the economy.

The debate, held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., was supposed to be about foreign policy, but both Obama and Romney managed to bring up the economy and other domestic issues throughout the 90 minutes.

Skye Hodges talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Skye Hodges talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Jody Uribe, a Reiki healer from South Jordan, said she voted for Obama in 2008 but doesn't want a repeat of the past four years. And, Uribe said, she was moved by Romney's closing statement.

"He said 'peace' a lot, and that just really stuck with me," she said, along with a statement about the country's greatest generation passing a torch. "I felt it."

What Uribe didn't like was the tone taken by the president in describing some of Romney's stands, suggesting at one point that Romney was stuck in the past when it comes to foreign, economic and social policies.

"In my notes, I wrote, ‘Cut, cut, cut' where Obama was like stabbing him," she said. "The energy of it, I felt that too. … It was like bullying."

Kevin Hudson, a West Jordan warehouse manager, agreed, citing Obama's suggestion that Romney was not aware the military needs have changed.

Craig Carroll talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Craig Carroll talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"That whole thing about the horses and bayonets, seriously," Hudson said, shaking his head at one of the most memorable lines of the debate.

Sullivan said Romney also did his share of bantering but was more tactful.

"Obama was more personal with that," he said.

David Montoya, of Draper, who's in real estate, said he wanted to hear more specifics from both candidates about military needs and other issues.

"I found myself frustrated," Montoya said. "How am I going to make a decision about who's better to run the country?"

Montoya said while he knows what the past four years have been like, voting in a new leader is "not a magic bullet that's going to turn things around."

Kevin Hudson talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Kevin Hudson talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Ally Hale, a Salt Lake Community College student from Riverton, said Romney may have played it too safe in the final matchup, after clearly winning the first debate and staying strong in the second.

Hale said Romney should have pushed the president on how the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya was handled.

"I wanted to hear more," she said.

Richelle Taylor, an unemployed mother of two from Magna, said Romney appeared "almost scared. That's the impression I got." She criticized the pair for "bickering back and forth like two little kids."

Taylor said she needed to hear more specifics, too, particularly about jobs.

"I've been looking for a job for years, frankly," she said. "Give me something. … Don't just say, ‘When I'm in office' or "When I'm re-elected.'"

Ally Hale talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Ally Hale talks about the debate with other undecided voters at Lighthouse Research on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Craig Carroll, a South Jordan police officer and business owner, said he didn't understand why the final meeting between the two candidates before Election Day wasn't focused on domestic issues.

"To me, they came closer to a draw," Carroll said.

Hudson and other members of the group said still being undecided after the final debate means it's time to study up on the candidates.

"We have to educate ourselves," Hudson said. "We can't make a decision on a debate."

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