Some voters still unsure on presidential choice

Jack Encarnacao

It’s been an intense presidential election season, full of back-and-forth debate and sweeping promises. But Eleanor Creamer of Braintree is still waiting for answers.

“They make predictions for what they’re going to do, but they don’t say how or go into detail, which I wish they would,” Creamer said as she and her two grandchildren stopped for doughnuts and coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Weymouth. “On their campaigns, they speak to people and they keep saying the same things over and over and over again.”

From coffee shop chatter in Weymouth to pet store stoops in Hingham to front lawns in Norwell, there are signs across the South Shore that indicate the presidential election, with a week to go before the polls open, is still up for grabs among locals.

A majority of local voters from both parties have in some ways been without a candidate since the February primary, when Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney convincingly took Massachusetts and the South Shore, but failed to secure their party’s nomination.

James Kelsey, a union operating engineer working on an expansion project at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, threw in the towel after his candidate, Clinton, dropped out. The 37-year-old father plans to vote on state ballot questions next Tuesday, but not for president.

“I just think that these are a couple of the saddest-looking candidates we’ve seen in a long time,” Kelsey said. “You’ve got to look at McCain and say, ‘Yeah, sure, American hero. Sure, great American. Fine.’ But a presidential quality guy? I don’t think so. I think he’s past his prime. Obama, I’m not even sure. Where does this guy come from? Who is he? We don’t even have a solid bead on that.”

Much is made of the role new, energized voters will play in this election. Adam Fiander, a 21-year-old college student from Weymouth, said his decision to vote this year was sealed while watching the World Series with some friends.

“Some of my buddies made a great point, that they’ve never really been excited about politics,” Fiander said. “And just the way Obama can speak, it kind of grasps us, you know?”

Not all local young people are locked in to a certain choice. Nicole Lantz, 18, fears Obama is too new and that McCain keeps changing his positions.

“(McCain) will say whatever he needs to to make you happy, and that’s not what I need,” said Lantz, who has a boyfriend and several cousins in the Marines. “I need somebody to keep us safe, not happy.”

But there are diehard supporters. Buwa Ekunkunbor, 60, of Randolph, has watched all three debates and is sure Obama is his guy.

“We can’t have four more years of the Republicans,” he said. “We’ve gone through thick and thin (and) I don’t see the Republican party giving us a change.”

Bob Ullman, a 49-year-old carpenter from Hingham, is voting for McCain based on his experience and said he is “psyched” about Sarah Palin as the first female vice president.

For all the indecision voters may express, Ullman said he has seen lines drawn in the sand. Customers who are Obama supporters have not held their tongues when they see his McCain bumper stickers.

“One customer said to me, ‘I wish I had known your political views before I hired you,’” Ullman said. “I’ll tell you right now, I’m not working for her anymore.”

Jack Encarnacao may be reached