the advertising, the canvassing and the debating, much of the
final weeks of a campaign come down to identifying and convincing
the undecided voter.
a Feb. 7 poll had Kerry leading the pack in the commonwealth,
but indicated at least 13 percent of the electorate was still
The poll also
indicated a massive shift in support in the Old Dominion state.
In December, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean led, but the most
recent survey had Dean attracting only 8 percent of the vote.
County, many residents have seen the same shift in loyalties and
many of them are still mulling over whom they will support.
been interesting to see [the residents] flip-flop, but I don't
make up my mind till the night before," said Ann Pankow.
"Sometimes while I'm on my way into the voting booth."
from Baltimore, Pankow said that voting in Rappahannock is a more
"intimate" experience where the poll workers seem to
don't have to say a word, they know who you are," she said.
women's issues, Pankow said one of her main concerns was getting
help for small businesses. She owns her own horse and dog supply
hard for small businesses to make ends meet," Pankow said.
"We have to pay for our own health care and we don't get
the same tax benefits that big corporations do."
primarily relying on newspapers for her election information and
to help her decide which candidate to back.
to hear what they say," she said. "I want to know their
voting record, what they're for, what they're about. If they make
a complete idiot of themselves I won't vote for them."
her choices, Pankow is ignoring candidate resumes and accents.
care where they're from or where they grew up. It's what they
say now, what they've done and what they're going to do,"
she explained recently.
is excited about participating in Virginia's early primary Feb.
10, she believes that whoever wins the White House won't have
much influence on her business.
local politics that count," Pankow said. "Virginia state
politics or local politics. They're the ones that can directly
In the same
small county, another small business owner, holistic health practitioner
Elizabeth Lee, has a dramatically different take on who to back
in the primaries.
want to support someone with a chance," Lee said. "I
like (Ohio Rep. Dennis) Kucinich's platform, but he doesn't have
a chance. I like (North Carolina Sen. John) Edwards, but I also
care about veterans' issues so I'm also looking at (Massachusetts
Sen. John) Kerry."
For Lee, electability
is her main concern.
shallow, but looks matter more than platform," Lee said.
"Who might defeat [President] Bush counts more than the issues."
Lee says the
issues most important to her are civil rights and changing the
we need to be secure but I know we can do it within our democratic
system and within our rights," Lee said.
on the candidates, Lee said she talks to friends and also pays
attention to endorsements.
endorsed by people I judge to be intelligent and with integrity,
then that means a lot to me," Lee said.
As the hours
ahead of the primary wane, Lee and Pankow -- along with 15 percent
of Virginians likely to vote in the Feb. 10 primary, according
to an American Research Group poll released Sunday -- will need
to come to a final decision in what is a key test for Kerry, Edwards
By Chris Nammour, Online NewsHour