`Hell Will Freeze Over Before I Vote For One Of The Other Two'

Can Clinton win? Yes, if he corrals the voters who deserted the Democrats after 1976. From Northern cities to Southern towns, many "Reagan Democrats" are giving the Arkansas governor another look. Clinton must also turn out black and pro-choice voters. Here's a look at several voters considering Clinton:


Alice Schuman would prefer a whole new set of candidates. A visiting nurse in Ann Arbor, Mich., Schuman gripes: "We've got three choices: Clinton, who's too stupid to inhale; Bush, who whines constantly; and Perot, who is so irritating that GM paid him three-quarters of a billion dollars not to come to their board meetings." Still, as one who usually votes Democratic, the 39-year-old is leaning toward Bill Clinton. "I always vote," she says. "And hell will freeze over before I vote for one of the other two."

Abortion rights are foremost in her mind right now. George Bush's antiabortion stance rules him right out, and she doesn't trust Ross Perot's pro-choice pronouncements. "He's a salesman," she says. "He's going to tell you whatever you want to hear so he can close the deal." She's glad that Clinton is pro-choice, but she wishes he hadn't approved an Arkansas bill requiring minors to obtain parental consent before having an abortion.

Last fall's Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings still reverberate for Schuman. "At the time, I was so angry, I swore I'd never vote for a man again"--a vow she has since modified. "What gives me hope about Clinton and Gore," she says, "is that they have wives with brains and careers, and they respect that." On women's issues, Schuman dismisses Bush out of hand, and she remains wary about Perot.

Schuman worries, too, about racial strife, poverty, the economy, and education. To tackle these diverse issues, she wants a leader who knows how to make the system work. Plus, she wishes there were a candidate gutsy enough to call for sacrifice from the electorate. "Perot is the only one who could say something like that, but he doesn't have it in him."

At least Clinton could get things done on Capitol Hill, she figures. And with the speeches at the Democratic National Convention still ringing in her ears, she has some hope for change. In this election, that's likely to put Schuman in Clinton's column, if only by default.