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Will Pennsylvania Republicans Vote for Romney?

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Mitt Romney may be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but many Pennsylvanians continued to voice reservations about their votes leading up to their state’s primary Tuesday.

Romney cannot afford a narrow victory in Pennsylvania, public policy professor and pollster Terry Madonna told Judy Woodruff on Monday’s PBS NewsHour, and his campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future have spent more than $2.6 million on TV ads to convince wary voters.

Woodruff and the NewsHour politics team spoke to several Romney-shy conservatives in southeastern Pennsylvania about their votes and reservations. Several said they were still planning on voting for Rick Santorum, even though he suspended his candidacy on April 10. Others said they would set aside their concerns and vote for Romney for the party.

Watch that here:

We also asked Pennsylvania voters to share their thoughts with us online with the help of American Public Media’s Public Insight Network.

Here are a few excerpts from responses we received:

Roberta Filer of New Castle voted for Mitt Romney on Tuesday morning:

I like the idea of what Mr. Santorum stands for, but I’m afraid America is too far gone for that. (Oh, me of little faith!) I’m counting on Mr. Romney’s values of good work ethic, family, sacrifice (yes, sacrifice ) and non-entitlement to help turn this nation around. Mr. Romney has a strength and stability about him. President Obama may have the charisma, but Mr. Romney has the character. When Mr. Santorum withdrew, I knew it was time to rally around Mr. Romney and get it done!

Janice Lilly from Middletown said she is “probably” going to vote for Romney. The issues that are important to Lilly are “the economy, protecting unborn children and protecting the environment”:

[The campaign] is all about sound bites and posturing. I wish there was a Republican candidate who was fiscally conservative and pro life who also didn’t seem to hate the environment. Why do you have to oppose all environmental initiatives in order to get elected in the GOP? I don’t get it.

Kevin Stay, a college student from Bethel Park, shared that he doesn’t think the candidates are talking about the important issues. Stay plans to vote for Newt Gingrich “because he is not Mitt Romney,” but calls himself a Republican “in name only” so that he can have a say in the 2012 election:

The stagnation in growth our country is experiencing is a result of the fact that real wages (adjusted for inflation) have not grown for ordinary people since the 1980s while the salaries of the richest section of our country have skyrocketed. In order to create growth, real wages need to increase — ordinary people need to have disposable income in order for there to be any sort of legitimate consumer base. We have regressed to political and economic conditions similar to those of the “Robber Baron” period of the late 19th and early 20th century. The field of choices in this election is laughable. When Ron Paul seems like the sanest choice the system is broken….

The true interests of the American people are being represented by neither major political party. Sweeping reforms need to take place if we are to salvage the republic from its current state.

Ellyn Zaia from Halifax supports Romney and told us that he’s addressing the issues she cares about “beautifully”:

I’m trying to be a realtor — six years in the business. I’ve listed three homes since December but have had almost no calls for showings in spite of right now being the buying opportunity in a lifetime. While the Obama administration has been campaigning for re-election since his inauguration, his neglect of anything not health care law or re-election has fostered a real estate market that’s great for investors (landlords and vacation home buyers) but few others. The good thing is that after Obama’s defeat, the pent-up buyers will drive an incredible real estate recovery.

Ryan Hansell from Bridgeport plans to vote for Ron Paul:

I am satisfied with only one candidate who the media blacks out and ignores, Ron Paul. All other candidates, Democrat and Republican are far too close together, and in my opinion, make up two sides of the same coin…I honestly feel ashamed [Rick Santorum] was my senator as long as he was. I tell people that many of us feel like parents whose child just went on a rampage, and he did it under our nose the entire time.

Roxanne Davis from Chadds Ford is casting her vote for Gingrich, though may have voted for Santorum had he still been in the race.

I was sad to hear that [Santorum] left the race for president and if I had not voted for Newt I would have sure voted for Rick Santorum. He was a great senator and with the commercials that Romney put out there were really lies about Santorum and about Newt Gingrich. I am not impressed with Romney at all and do not believe that I would even vote for him if he is the nominee. I believe that he has bought this election and I do not like that. He is a disgrace for bad mouthing the other candidates and I do not like that about him.

For live results from Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary check out the NewsHour Vote 2012 Map Center.

Every day, people in the Public Insight Network help us explore topics and issues by sharing knowledge and insight from their work, their education or their experience. Share yours here.

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