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Many Iowa Republicans Remain Undecided Ahead Of Caucuses


Here's one thing we know about voters in Iowa and other places. Many of them are still undecided. NPR's Susan Davis caught up with some of those voters over breakfast this morning to talk about the Republican caucuses.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Just before sunrise this morning, I was at The Machine Shed. It's a Midwestern chain restaurant known for Midwestern-sized cinnamon rolls, and every four years, it's a destination for presidential candidates trying to win Iowa. And I'm here for another time-honored tradition - reporters interrupting Iowans trying to enjoy a meal.

Excuse me. Would you mind if I join you guys for a second?

RICK CHABOT: Yeah, sure.

DAVIS: Rick Chabot is a retired attorney. Over his morning oatmeal, he says he's still undecided, but he knows he'll vote for a governor tonight. He likes Chris Christie or John Kasich. He thinks governors make the best presidents. But he doesn't feel good about their chances this year.

CHABOT: I don't know whether I'm wasting my vote because all the governors are sixth or seventh on the list according to the polls.

DAVIS: He will not support Trump tonight. But if Trump is on the ballot in November...

CHABOT: I'll support whoever the Republican nominee is.

DAVIS: Trump is not an option for Janice Megel, a Boston transplant and retired postal worker. She considers herself a centrist. She's still deciding between Christie, Kasich and Democrat Martin O'Malley. She likes Christie. She sees a little of herself in him.

JANICE MEGEL: I'm an East-Coaster. He's an East-Coaster. I'm a Catholic. He's a Catholic. I like the tell-it-like-it-is. That's my attitude. I tell it like it is. So he's my type of guy.

DAVIS: Unlike Chabot, Megel says if Trump wins the nomination, she will cast her vote for a Democrat.

MEGEL: I would vote for Hillary because I'm a woman. I want to see a woman president. And I think she'd do an OK job. I think she's do a better job than Trump.

DAVIS: Waiting on Chabot and Megel here at The Machine Shed is waitress Michele Peters. Thanks to her job, she's met most of the candidates running this year. She's 95 percent certain she will vote for the one candidate she has not met. That's right - Donald Trump.

MICHELE PETERS: I really like what he has to say, and I think - I like how he looks at the country as a business and not a big political thing. So that's one of my main reasons.

DAVIS: She's 36, and tonight will be her first time caucusing. She's exactly the kind of voter Trump needs to turn out to help him win Iowa. Peters says there's one thing every candidate gets out of The Machine Shed.

PETERS: Coffee - they're always off to some other place.

DAVIS: The eventual Republican nominee will certainly be back here for a fresh cup this fall. Susan Davis, NPR News, Urbandale. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.