- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 31, 2016

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa | The wild ride of the 2016 presidential races has undecided voters here turning every which way heading into the country’s lead-off caucuses.

As unconventional candidates throw both Republican and Democratic parties into disarray, they also are causing some undecided voters’ heads to spin.

Cindy Hilkin, a stay-at-home mom in Dubuque, said she will definitely caucus but is torn between Republican renegade Donald Trump and Democratic left-wing revolutionary Sen. Bernard Sanders.

The mother of four could break for either party because Iowans can switch registration when they arrive at their caucus sites Monday night.

Mrs. Hikin, 36, said she admires Mr. Trump, who has attracted broad support among conservatives and evangelical voters, because he is “aggressive, honest and very bold.”

But she had a similar impression of Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont who wants American social programs to look more like Sweden’s.

“I think, just like Trump, [Mr. Sanders] is very honest and truly has what is best for us in mind,” she said at a Trump rally Saturday. “He has a lot of off-the-wall ideas that other haven’t thought of and might be good for us.”

Scores of voters could be switching parties or joining parties for the caucuses. Recent voter rolls in Iowa show that there are more registered independent voters than Republicans or Democrats.

Undecided voters hold the keys to both contests, with Mr. Trump in a tight race with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Mr. Sanders in dead heat with Hillary Clinton.

Polls show that as many as 30 percent of Iowa voters are undecided in the days before the caucuses. And about 45 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers say they could be persuaded to change their vote when they arrive at their caucus sites, according to a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday.

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