As the November presidential election approaches, some Washington County residents remain on the proverbial political fence - undecided about which candidate will get their vote.
According to Mike Tager, associate professor of political science at Marietta College, this year's election is projected to be a close one.
"In a close election, a relatively small group can make a big difference," Tager noted.
Undecided voters tend to vote at a lower rate than those with partisan connections.
"They're important, but it's not an easy sell for candidates," said Tager.
Both candidates must be able to increase turnout among supporters while trying to appeal to that small number of voters who haven't made up their mind, added Tager.
About Undecided Voters:
According to a recent CNN/ORC International Poll, 10 percent of the electorate remains undecided.
In swing states like Ohio, as low as six percent of the electorate is undecided, the poll found.
The poll noted that these undecided voters are more likely to be men than women, more likely to be white than black and twice as likely to call themselves independents.
A recent USA Today survey about why voters are undecided found that they are too busy, not excited about the election, think their votes don't matter and think nothing gets done anyway.
Tager said the nation's economy will play a big role in the upcoming presidential elections.
If the economy slowly improves, Romney's argument about Obama's failed economic policies may be less compelling, said Tager. A stagnated economy could make Romney's argument more compelling to independent voters.
Peggie Hale of Marietta, 46, is an unaffiliated voter who knows about a down economy. She has been unemployed for eight months.
When it comes to the economy, Hale said she would like to see what some politicians and economists call the positive "trickle-down effect."
"I'm still waiting on that (effect)," noted Hale.
Holly Pittman of Beverly, another undecided voter, said she would like to see more jobs for those living in Washington County -no matter who wins November's election.
"I just think that everybody could take better care of themselves if we had money and access to jobs," Pittman noted.
Outsourced jobs are a political bone of contention that's bothersome to undecided voter David Cambarare of Reedsville, 32.
"Obama should have kept more jobs in the United States and quit outsourcing jobs," said Cambarare.
Although he is annoyed with Obama, Cambarare was quick to note that some of that outsourcing was out of Obama's control.
Undecided voters in Washington County are also worried about what politicians intend for health care.
"When does Obama's health care kick in anyway?" Hale said. "I could use a little trip to the doctor."
With money in short supply, Hale said she sometimes has to decide whether she'll fix her car or fix herself.
The combined stresses of unemployment, no health insurance and a sluggish economy to boot have left Hale wondering just who would be the best candidate for president.
Cambarare said he believes health care and health insurance should be available to every citizen, no matter whether they can afford it or not.
"If you can't pay for it, I believe (the government) should step in and help you pay for it, or you pay a minimum, or it's no cost at all," said Cambarare.
Health insurance and Medicare policies have left Shawn Casto of Belpre, 33, less than pleased with President Obama.
Casto is concerned what will happen to his 84-year-old grandmother if she has to go into a retirement home.
"What if she (had no insurance and) couldn't get the care she needs?" Casto asked.
Casto doesn't trust either party to keep their word, no matter who he votes for - and that keeps him on the undecided-voter fence.
"I'm never gonna be sure if (the candidates) will hold up to their promises until after they're actually elected," noted Casto.
Isaac McPeek of Marietta, 34, said he is having a hard time coming off that same fence when it comes to knowing who the candidates will be beholden to after election day.
"You can't bite the hand that feeds you," McPeek said. "Whether we like it or not, it takes money to win an election."
When election day rolls around on Nov. 6, McPeek said he is unlikely to make it to the polls to vote.
For Pittman, that doesn't seem like a good option.
"You can't change anything if you don't vote," Pittman said.