Winning Indiana rests in southern part

Jones, the retired teacher, says he is concerned about the economy and sees McCain's approach as "the same old Bush" tactics.

Also undecided is Dawn Snider, 57, a nurse who calls herself an "independent Republican" who voted twice for Bush.

Right after the GOP convention, she says, McCain's choice of Palin looked like it could be the tiebreaker for her this year. As she watched the debates and read more, however, Snider says some of her excitement for Palin dimmed, and she is no longer sure whether Palin will be a factor in her vote.

"The health care situation is how I'm going to base my decision," Snider says.

Former Indiana House speaker John Gregg, who supported fellow Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York during the primary season, was among Hoosiers who took offense to Obama's much-publicized comments in which he referred to bitter small-town folks who cling to guns and religion. Those words hurt Obama during the primary campaign in southern Indiana.

Now, Gregg says, he and many people he knows in his region are backing Obama.

"It's because of health care costs. It's because of an economy in recession. It's because of a war without end," Gregg says. "It's because, because, because."

Evans and Schneider report for TheIndianapolis Star

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