What the voters say: the 2012 US Election panel decides

For the past few months, selected voters of all persuasions have been sharing their reactions to the campaign with us. Now they reveal how they are planning to vote

Olivia Fahey, 19 Student, votes in Wisconsin

2008: did not vote

2012: voting Obama

It's going to be Obama, but it's going to be close. While Hurricane Sandy was an absolute tragedy, it also helped remind people that Romney made a global warming joke at his Convention, and said he would defund and privatise FEMA. Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of the President, as well as the fact that he's now leading in Ohio, make it hard for me to believe that Romney can pull out a victory.

José Hernández-Lagunes, 36 University employee, Illinois

2008: did not vote

2012: voting Obama

I'm positive I read all the wrong publications, because from what I gather, the election could be tighter than 2000's – despite endless headlines such as "Romney hasn't met with media in over 20-odd days", "Romney fake-donates relief supplies for Sandy victims", or "Romney lies about [fill in the blank]". This country will get what it deserves come 20 January. I personally know too many Bible-thumping, fiscally-ignorant, gun-toting, racially-biased, fact-hating Wisconsinites, Minnesotans and Iowans to make this anything other than a Romney win.

Andy Sorensen, 23

University student, Minnesota

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

John Adams once said: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." I believe Romney will win the election because I feel he has used the facts (namely the worsening economy) to his advantage the best in his campaign. It's going to take a lot to repair what's wrong with America, and he's the person that will take the first steps in that direction.

Diane Bergin, 44 Housewife, Florida

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

Romney will win. The incident in Libya was a huge blow to the Obama administration. People want a strong Commander-in-Chief and this was not apparent when our Ambassador and three Americans were killed. There are many conflicting news reports but one thing you cannot deny is that four Americans were killed.

Anna Schwiessinger, 31

Client services coordinator, votes in California

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

I hate looking at projections, but it looks like Obama will take the Electoral College (how we strangely elect our leaders here in America). The President's actions in the last week in response to Sandy put him over the top, and it didn't hurt that New Jersey Governor Christie praised him. I thought that Romney didn't do himself any favours by continuing to campaign throughout the week, despite all the canned food his supporters donated.

DC Stultz, 72, Retired, Florida.

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

I will go along with polls saying that Obama will win. My only real concern is that voter fraud by the Republicans may cause serious fallout, as it already has in Florida. Obama has his act together; Romney does not. We know where Obama stands on the issues; we can only guess with Romney. Obama is presidential and understands foreign policy; Romney does not.

Sam Miller, 33

Attorney, Massachusetts

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

In my heart, I hope Romney wins. But the electoral math looks insurmountable for him. I think the most likely result is a majority of the popular vote for Romney, but a majority in the electoral college for Obama. The electorate seems polarised, and while Obama cannot get 50 per cent in the polls, he has an entrenched base of support in key states such as Ohio and Wisconsin which appear to be too much to overcome. I really hope I'm wrong!

Kathy Tobiassen, 54 Homemaker, New York

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

It distresses me to say, I think Romney will win. I don't think President Obama sufficiently articulated the benefits of his signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans have defined it (untruthfully) from the start. In that same vein, they have been successful in denigrating Obama's policies as failures, despite actual facts. American politics are now "post-truth" and there is an incredible amount of fear of and hatred for Obama in an unfortunately large portion of the American electorate.

Jamie Klingler, 34

Publishing manager, Pennsylvania

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

The election seems to all be boiling down to Ohio, and Romney's lies on the auto bailout and Ohio's proximity to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the wake of Sandy makes me hope/believe that any undecided voters will swing in Obama's direction. Romney voted against FEMA and in the wake of destruction, Obama looked and acted presidential while Romney was doing lame campaign stops with dry goods in a high school gym.

Katie McKernan, 40

Stay-at-home mom, Virginia

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

It'll be tight but I believe Romney will win. He has a huge enthusiasm gap on his side. Every Republican I know cannot wait to vote, whereas my liberal friends are befuddled as to why the Romney signs and bumper stickers vastly outnumber the Obama ones where I live. Many polls are sampling based on the turnout in 2008. But it is highly unlikely the turnout model will hold.

Molly McCallum, 41

PhD student and consultant, California

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

Obama seems to be on his game again. His campaign events have taken on a more confident tone. If undecided voters still exist, and apparently they do, I would imagine the camaraderie on display after Hurricane Sandy, particularly with Governor Christie, is attractive. Undecideds may also focus on the events of the last couple of weeks: Romney's weak foreign policy knowledge, Republicans' strange and offensive "rape" statements. I do not think Romney can overcome that.

Michael Rasmussen, 55 Cybercrime prevention specialist, Oregon

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

Obama will win comfortably with over 320 electoral votes. Romney failed to explain his economic plan. Yes, he promised to cut taxes. That is not enough. Obama benefits from people remembering how dire our economy was when he took office. Romney also injured his chances by shifting stands during the race. "Which Mitt?" is a disturbing question for too many voters.

Julie Saxenmeyer, 37

Development specialist for a public library system, Maryland

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

Obama will win. If you look at the state-by-state polls, especially the swing states, he has a small but clear lead in most of them. Romney would have to sweep the swing states to win, and I don't think that's going to happen. As far as why, I just think that Obama has made his case clear: we are on the upswing, and he deserves a chance to follow his agenda through. I also think that voters have had a hard time grasping what Romney's plan was – he was never specific, changed his positions a lot, and seems untrustworthy.

Toby Hatchett, 61

Freelance journalist, New Hampshire

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

I can't fathom this country "led" by someone as ill-informed and mean-spirited as Romney, so I believe Obama will win. I am chewing my fingers with fear as I see so much, already, that could stop him. Attempts to prevent voters from voting in Florida, for example.

Brian Clutter, 30

IT support specialist, Ohio

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

It could be painfully close, but I'm predicting a Romney win. Voter enthusiasm has reversed itself since 2008, and I'm hoping it gives Romney the fraction of a per cent he needs to win out. Either way I'm confident he will reclaim a few red states that McCain lost.

Chelsea Samuel, 29

Personal shopper, North Carolina.

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

Obama is going to win. I think the way he's handled Sandy reflects the type of leadership he's shown over the last four years and why we need four more. We still don't know what kind of president Romney would be and I think that has me and (I hope) the majority of voters concerned about him winning.

Jake Duhaime, 28

Publicity and special projects manager, Massachusetts

2008: did not vote

2012: voting Romney

I haven't the slightest idea who will win. The polls – which have oversampled Democrats based on 2008 turnout, when Obama was the second coming of Jesus Christ and John McCain was the most inept GOP candidate since Bob Dole – say one thing. The early voting returns, which lean closer to 2004 (Bush victory) and 2010 levels (GOP takes control of Congress), say something else. Turnout is going to be everything.

Sandra Gross, 45

Copy editor, Michigan

2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

Our country is divided. It's not about which man will hold the office as much as the direction our country will move in socially and morally. Will the US government take away women's rights? Will the government redefine rape? Will states take over vital disaster assistance and response (FEMA)? If Romney wins, the answer could be "yes" to all three questions. The prospect of him in the White House is terrifying but quite possible.

Clayton Bink, 52

Maintenance worker, New York State

2008: voted McCain

2012: voting Romney

Romney will win. Here's why: his experience as a successful businessman and governor are evidence of his ability to negotiate. This is something that average Americans recognise will be necessary to bring down our staggering national debt.

Brian Slack, 28

Business consultant, Pennsylvania 2008: voted Obama

2012: voting Obama

In Mitt Romney, I see everything I despise about the American elite. This wilful cognitive dissidence that makes it okay for him to make money hand over fist, thanks partly to the government, then mock those who need it the most. The constant belief-changing, and the contempt he has for the majority of Americans. I can think of nothing worse than him winning.

Cherlene Nerland, 37,

Housewife, votes in Mississippi

2008 – Did not vote

2012 – Undecided

President Obama is going to win. I think, or hope, that the majority of the country is intelligent enough not to trust a candidate who seems to change his position almost daily. Also, because of Superstorm Sandy, President Obama had a chance to demonstrate some "Presidential" qualities this past week while Mr. Romney's actions have seemed fake and self-serving.

Ruben D. Sanchez, Jr., 40

Soldier in US Army National Guard/Flight Attendant, votes in Illinois.

2008 – Voted McCain

2012 – Plans to vote Romney

Mitt Romney will win. Ever since he won the Republican nomination, he has presented himself as a true statesman and gentleman, the latter of which explains his rise in the polls from the women voters. Moreover, he is very comfortable is treating the President as a worthy opponent, and holding him accountable for his record, unlike the American media which has treated President Obama as a living secular saint and has shielded him from accountability. Obama has led a campaign of anger, pettiness, and revenge. Grudges and spite are not characteristics of leadership or of those that are elected to positions of power.

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