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The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
By Grace Nasri
NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- With five viable candidates still in the running just nine months before election day on Nov. 6, many voters are still weighing whether to support the Democratic incumbent President
or one of his four remaining Republican opponents: former House Speaker
, Texas Rep.
, former Massachusetts Gov.
or former Pennsylvania Sen.
The American public differs greatly in terms of what issues sway their votes. Some voters focus on the candidates' accomplishments during previous jobs in the private or public sector. Others find relevance in personal attributes like age or religion: Ron Paul, 76, Baptist; Newt Gingrich, 68, Roman Catholic; Mitt Romney, 64, Mormon; Rick Santorum, 53, Roman Catholic; Barack Obama, 50, Protestant.
Some see education as an important indicator and weigh in factors like highest degree obtained: Gingrich: PhD Modern European History, Tulane University; Obama: J.D., Harvard Law School; Paul: M.D., Duke University Medical Center; Romney: J.D. Harvard Law School and M.B.A., Harvard Business School; Santorum: M.B.A, University of Pittsburgh and J.D., Dickinson School of Law.
As election day nears, some undecided Americans begin to put weight on the candidates' standings in the polls or how much
money they have raised
But despite all these background factors, most Americans base their voting on the candidates' positions on issues. Below is a glimpse of some issues that have come up during Campaign 2012 and the candidates' positions.
Such positions are not always easy to paraphrase, because the positions are nuanced or complex or evolving or simply unclear, so be sure to check the candidates' campaign websites:
"Pro Life" - Gingrich, Paul, Romney, Santorum.
"Pro Choice" - Obama
Believes that human activity has brought about climate change: Obama,
Does not believe humans have caused climate change: Santorum
Believes the science is unsettled:
Health Care, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
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