3 undecided voters: Debate didn't end doubts about Trump, Clinton

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday.
Rick T. Wilking | AP

Christine Skluzacek hadn't made up her mind before Monday's debate about which candidate she would vote for. Skluzacek is the patriotic type. Her license plate is ringed with the words, "I Love U.S.A" and she has admiration for whomever is president, regardless of party.

She doesn't belong to a political party herself.

"I vote Republican sometimes, sometimes Democrat," she said. "It just depends on who I feel connected to the most."

And this year, the 44-year-old apartment manager from Montgomery in southern Minnesota has agonized over her presidential options.

Skluzacek likes Trump on the economy but has concerns about how the Republican nominee would come off to the rest of the world. She said he stumbled his way through Monday night's debate and struck her as boastful.

"He's too off the cuff, which is good in a way," she said. "You want to have a real American, but he's not polished enough."

As for Clinton, Skluzacek has lingering doubts about the Democratic candidate's integrity and worries about another big scandal surfacing. But after sizing the two up in the debate, she said she's planning to vote for Clinton.

"To me she seems more presidential. She's composed, she's articulate, she answers the questions, she doesn't ramble on and on."

Reached moments after Clinton and Trump exited the stage, Todd Walden described the debate as interesting — "in that sort of train wreck kind of way."

The technical writer from Bloomington also was on the fence going in. The one-on-one debate didn't solve his dilemma.

"I just saw more of what I knew these candidates to be already. I have significant problems with both of them," he said.

Walden cheered on Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary season. But he was also open to Trump in the early phases of his campaign. He considers himself liberal but doesn't associate with a party.

Walden said Clinton's hawkish stances on use of military force worry him. But he's increasingly turned off by Trump's temperament.

"I'm tired of choosing the lesser of two evils in each election anymore. And unfortunately I don't even know there is a lesser," he said. "I don't think either of them proved it tonight."

He said the debate pushed him further toward a third party candidate and is giving a serious look at Libertarian Gary Johnson.

"I will vote. I will vote," Walden said. "I believe our country works because we have the ability to make choices. I don't like the fact that my choice is really, really hard and it's an awful choice but I will make it somehow."

The debate didn't settle things for her either.

She cringed at how Trump talked over Clinton. She said he came off as condescending at times. The social services worker from Hopkins was frustrated by Trump's drawn out explanation about his stance toward the Iraq war and his account of pressing for President Obama's birth certificate.

"I work with people with Alzheimer's and early onset dementia and listening to him is a lot like working with those people," she said. "The man is delusional."

Keltner, 35, leans Democratic. But she isn't yet sold on Clinton.

"The only downside about her is not that she's not likable, it's that I just don't know that she stands for anything," she said.

Keltner said Clinton showed candor by admitting it was a mistake to use a private email server as secretary of state. But Keltner said she's still searching for a candidate she'd be proud to vote for.

"If she could be like that on other issues, that would be great," Keltner said. "That would get my vote."