Undecided voters hard to find at Penn State

Students for Hillary hand out Hillary Clinton signs on Tuesday at Penn State.
Students for Hillary hand out Hillary Clinton signs on Tuesday at Penn State. psheehan@centredaily.com

Finding undecided young voters on the Penn State campus isn’t easy, perhaps reflecting national polling that shows only about 7 percent of likely voters haven’t made up their minds on a choice for president.

Interviews with 61 students chosen at random found just a few in that category. For some of those who haven’t decided, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson still merit a look.

Freshman Ally Dudek, of Pittsburgh, is certain about one thing: She won’t be marking the ballot for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. “He’s rude and sexist and racist,” Dudek said of Trump. “But I’m a Republican so I also don’t like Hillary because of that reason.”

She plans to research Stein and Johnson.

Kamyla Fonseca, a junior from Belleville, N.J., who is registered to vote in Centre County, said she dislikes both Trump and Clinton: “Trump is a racist who is using hate as a foundation for his campaign and Clinton is just ugh.”

Fonseca is thinking about voting for Stein. “I personally identify as a liberal and she’s the only one actually introducing and promoting liberal policies,” she said. “Hillary Clinton is far from a liberal.”

This isn’t the first time Penn State students have expressed this kind of dissatisfaction, even if they supported a candidate. In September, McClatchy reported Penn State students were conflicted in the days before the first debate.

Nicholas Reinhart, a sophomore majoring in political science and also registered in Centre County, wanted to vote for Johnson but doesn’t believe he will win after the candidate’s Aleppo slipup.

In a live interview on Sept. 8 on MSNBC, Johnson made what many consider to be a grave error when he was unable to identify Aleppo, a war-ravaged city in northern Syria.

“And Hillary — she’s awful. But she is better based off experience in politics. She will be better than Trump,” Reinhart said.

Several students said they are not likely to vote because of problems they see in both major party candidates.

“I am undecided because there are glaring blatant weaknesses with both candidates. If I had to pick one, I’d lean toward Hillary,” said Eric Garzone, a junior from Philadelphia.

He added, “I’m not going to vote because I don’t really like either candidate enough. The debates haven’t helped me much.”

The next debate is set for 9 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

“Both candidates are terrible,” said Austin Miller, a sophomore from Lewisberry. “I probably won’t vote.”

But several others said that despite their decision dilemma, they will be in the voting booth on Nov. 8.

“I don’t really think I could wholeheartedly say that I fully support one candidate as president,” said Morgan Radic, a junior from Lewisberry. “I’m leaning toward the Republican side because I am a registered Republican and hate Hillary.

“I am going to vote. Tens of thousands of people have died for our right to vote so I am most definitely going to respect them.”

Daniel Rivera, a senior from Hershey, said he “can’t reconcile the emotions I have for each candidate.”

“I can always put down Mickey Mouse,” Rivera said jokingly, “but it’s between Hillary and Trump.”

Central Pennsylvanian voters will have another chance to get in touch with the campaigns Friday. Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, will be appearing in State College. Trump will be making his second swing through the center of the crucial swing state with a visit to Johnstown.

Alison Kuznitz, Matt Castle and Renato Buanafina are Penn State journalism students.