Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Occupation: administrative assistant at a college
Personal: married with two daughters
2008 vote: John McCain
Balancing the federal budget is among Tricia Halliday's top priorities, and she's vehemently opposed to abortion.
But basing her vote on one or two hot topics is too narrow an approach for Ms. Halliday, a registered Republican. Making the choice is "really difficult if you're not going to just vote the party line, if you are actually going to make a decision on who would be the best president."
Romney's pick of running mate Paul Ryan "might be a further pull toward the Republican side," says Halliday, who has a degree in finance. "If we don't balance this [federal] budget, we are just not going to survive."
Freedom of religion is important, too. She disagrees with Obama's position that health-care benefits must cover birth control even at religious organizations such as Saint Anselm College, the Roman Catholic institution in Manchester, N.H., where she works.
On the other hand, she likes that Obama cares about insuring people, especially children. She seriously considered voting for him in 2008. One reason Romney gives her pause: "I don't know that I totally believe him. I don't know that he's really trustworthy. He's the flip-flopper, right?"
Obama also sometimes tailors what he says to his audiences, she says. But overall, "he did what he said he would do."
Halliday has had the chance to see both men in person – more than six times each over the years. They're both charismatic, she says, though Obama is more personable.
One item that weighs heavily on her checklist: character – "whether you are going to follow through on your promises and ... have the moral aptitude to stand up for yourself and your convictions," she says.
"I would rather have someone who I have similar beliefs with [on] 75 percent [of the issues], but I have faith in their character, than someone who tells me exactly what I want to hear but I don't have that faith in them."
– Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, staff writer