As the Republican and Democratic campaigns dig in with only nine months to go until November, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election seems more uncertain than ever. To understand what’s going through voters’ heads ahead of this crucial decision, we talked to nine Americans from across the political spectrum to learn what matters to them, and how it affects who they plan to support on Election Day.


1. Paula O’Neill, 51

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Supporting: Donald Trump

“I don’t understand what’s happened to this country. Neighbors used to leave their doors unlocked so they could come by and bathe each other’s children, and bury precious coins in the snow so you’d discover them on your lawn when the thaw came. I want that country back, and so does Trump.”


2. Rupert Gaddis, 85

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Supporting: Bernie Sanders

“Bernie is the kind of candidate who, let’s say he’s got this slug in his hand, and a whole crowd of people are clamoring for it, trying to get a look at the slug in his hand, and someone in the crowd shouts, ‘We love your snail!’ Well, Bernie’s the kind of guy who’s going to look that voter in the eye and say, ‘I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is a mere slug.’ As for the rest? I honestly think any of the other candidates would respond, without hesitation, with something like, ‘Yeah! Yeah! Get a load of my snail!’”


3. Thomas Masden, 34

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Supporting: Marco Rubio

“His bus came through town and hit a bird I really didn’t like.”


4. Ashley Gibson, 29

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Supporting: Hillary Clinton

“Look, she’s a grandmother. She had sex and gave birth to a girl. Her daughter had sex and gave birth to a girl.”


5. Mary Firestone, 44

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Supporting: Undecided

“I’m just not sure yet. I’ll probably just end up doing what I always do, which is going into the voting booth and faking a heart attack so I don’t have to choose.”


6. Keith Spinter, 34

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Supporting: Ben Carson

“Let me tell you a little story that I think perfectly explains why I’m voting for Ben Carson: Once, there was a small frog. The small frog was the smallest frog in all the forest. The frog was so small that one time, a big frog almost stepped on it, and then one day, the big frog actually did step on the small frog, and it died. The small frog hated being so small, and the small dead frog wandered for days and days wondering when it was going to get any taller. But then, one day, it did get taller. It got so tall that it became the largest frog in the forest. The huge dead frog was so happy that it screamed, ‘Look at me now, God! I’m huge and dead!’ But then it got struck by lightning and died. When it got to Heaven, the frog asked, ‘Why did you strike me down, God?’ But God didn’t answer.”


7. Harlan Jones, 68

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Supporting: Lydia

“I’ll be casting a ballot that’s empty save for one big written-in heart around the love of my life, my darling Lydia. Lydia, my wonderful wife. I don’t think she knows I do it, and I know she might not win. Then again, if having your wife win is the only reason you’re doing it, you’ve got the wrong idea.”


8. Megan Leicester, 66

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Supporting: Undecided

“I’m really leaning toward Trump, because as a straight-talking establishment outsider, he reminds me of Reagan. I can’t count out Jeb, though, because he’s got that cool temperament that reminds me of Reagan. And while Cruz has those apple cheeks that remind me of Reagan, Marco Rubio is young, like Reagan was for a while. But I could definitely see Christie breaking a seagull’s neck and swallowing it, which is very Reaganesque. So it’s still a bit of a toss-up.”


9. Sam Keller, 56

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Supporting: John Kasich

“I will try to vote for Rubio, but unfortunately, I will accidentally vote for Kasich.”