Ohio: Vote is crucial - but who are your voters?

Tommie Jo Marsilio is a former union shop steward. She's a single mom. And she's a Mitt Romney voter.
Associated Press
Oct 30, 2012

"It's not my job to shatter stereotypes," she says. But she is. Two years ago she became the first Republican elected to the local county commission as part of a Republican wave in an Ohio county that Barack Obama won in 2008.

From the candidates' campaign headquarters in Boston and Chicago, the electorate looks like a series of demographic groups. Voters become bar charts — women and union members for Obama, men and retirees for Romney, all part of the metrics to measure turnout and make educated guesses about outcome. But on the ground in this battleground of battleground states, with early voting well under way, the reality can complicate the science and generalization.

In a race this close, how well Romney and the president target their voters, sway independent ones and get them to the Ohio polls might well determine the outcome of next Tuesday's election. But people often don't match the voter profiles.

Take John Petelin, a 43-year-old skilled tradesman, a white male who voted for a third-party candidate instead of Obama in 2008.

He might be expected to line up behind Romney. But he isn't.

"I'm an autoworker," Petelin said outside the Lorain County Board of Elections building where he had just voted for Obama. "It's been tough out there. And Romney wanted to kill us. I can't go for that."

Or Kris Donofrio, a mother with three children in college. Standing by her car after voting in Lorain, a north-central Ohio city west of Cleveland, she scoffs at Romney's suggestion that kids can borrow for school from their parents.

But her parents, staunch Democrats she said, are voting for Romney. "They're concerned about Medicare," she said. "They think Obamacare is not for them."

Ohio voters like these are steadily making their way into county polling places across the state, casting early ballots that will determine whether Ohio will serve as a Democratic firewall against Romney's advance or a fire pit where the president's candidacy will perish.

Across the country, about 15 million voters already have cast ballots in the presidential contest, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. In Ohio, about a million have submitted absentee ballots or voted in person.

With just a week left before Election Day, Obama holds some clear edges in Ohio, not the least of which is an advantage in the early vote and a robust get-out-the-vote organization. He holds a narrow lead in some public polls in the state, though others show a neck-and-neck race as the campaign tightens in the homestretch.

Obama's political outreach, built on the broad base of support from 2008, is extensive and frequent. The auto industry, boosted by the government bailout, is resurgent.

In an interview with Cincinnati radio station WIZF that aired on Monday, Obama laid out the early vote strategy.

"We really want to bank as many votes as possible," he said. "So the fewer people who haven't voted yet, the better our Election Day operation is going to be."

But Romney, energized and locked in a dead heat nationally with the president, is mounting his own aggressive voter contact effort, partly counting on the inroads Republicans made in the state in 2010 and seeking to capitalize on discontent toward Obama among many independent voters. In county after county, campaign aides say, more Republicans are taking steps to vote early than did in 2008.

In Ohio so far, Democrats have a 31 percent to 24 percent lead among voters who have cast ballots in 50 of the state's 88 counties, according to data collected by The Associated Press. Forty-five percent of early voters in those counties were unaffiliated.

Those numbers have limitations. Party affiliation is based on the last primary in which someone voted, so new voters and those who don't vote in primaries are listed as unaffiliated.

A poll by Time magazine last week had Obama's advantage over Romney among early voters at 60-30 across the state.

And internal Republican polls also show Obama with leads even in Republican-leaning parts of the state, increasing the burden on Romney to do well on Election Day.

"We have seen a slight Democratic advantage in key districts in early and absentee votes," said Wes Anderson, a Republican pollster who has conducted surveys in congressional races in Ohio. "Those who have yet to vote are clearly trending Romney's way. The question is, is this movement toward Romney happening fast enough and big enough to overcome the slight deficit that he now has in early voting."

Romney advisers say they see signs that outside the big, populous counties, Romney could benefit from a wave of conservative voters as President George W. Bush did in 2004.

"Rural counties are really coming home," Romney political director Rich Beeson said. "You see it in early absentee and you see it in the intensity level. That's where we're going to make some ground."

Obama aides say the early turnout in Ohio is higher in counties that voted for him in 2008 than it is in precincts that voted for Republican John McCain that year.

Yet, a number of counties where Obama won four years ago, including Hamilton County in the Cincinnati suburbs, Stark County south of Cleveland and Portage County where Kent State University is located and where Marsilio is a commissioner, voted for Republican Gov. John Kasich and Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in 2010.

Besides Ohio, the eight other battlegrounds where the candidates are spending time and money are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin.

So far, Democratic voters casting early ballots outnumber Republicans in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Nevada. Republican voters have the edge in Colorado. No votes will be counted until Nov. 6, but several battleground states report the party affiliation of people who have already cast ballots. Some, like Ohio, have large blocs of unaffiliated voters.

In North Carolina, more than 1.5 million people have cast ballots, 50 percent of them Democrats and 31 percent Republicans. In Iowa, about 471,000 people have already voted — 45 percent Democrats and 32 percent Republicans. About 433,000 voters in Nevada have cast ballots, 45 percent Democrats and 37 percent Republicans.

In Florida, about 1.8 million voters have cast ballots and Democrats have edged in front of Republicans, 42 percent to 41 percent, according to a tally by the AP. Republicans had the early lead among people who voted by mail, but the Obama campaign has made a big push since in-person early voting started Saturday.

About 804,000 voters have cast ballots in Colorado, and Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats, 39 percent to 36 percent.




Regarding the Benghazi "terrorist attack":

"State Department security officials replaced the American military team in Tripoli with trained Libyan bodyguards, while it also maintained the number of State Department security personnel members at the Benghazi compound around the minimum recommended level."

Wonder if Mr. Obama would recommend replacing his Secret Service protection with Libyan bodyguards?

Lefties: It's from the NY Times, so it's safe to read:



The "official" story after seven weeks, is now that Mr. Obama is indignant that anyone would 'dare' question him:

“But I do take offense with some suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.”



Our president is incompetent and showed his lack of skill and decision making skills in Libya. There was no teleprompter to tell him what to do. The real puppet showed his true color!

the office cat

It's unfortunate you don't know how the system works. Responsibility for guarding embassies/compounds is the host country - just as we guard all foreign placements here. I think maybe the government doesn't release information and reports for two reasons: 1) security and 2) folks like you who read only the reports they choose to read so they can post slanted opinions to try to rouse the rabble.


@officecat, you forgot #3 so I will post it for you. 3)because it may cause embarrassment to the administration in an election year where the Presidential race is a dead heat. There, now the list is complete :)

John Harville

@knuckle... you forgot #4} So John McCain will have something to distract him and turn a 'non-political' rally into a 'get the President' rally while 38 people are dead from the most dreadful storm since 1821.


@ the office cat:

I don't particularly care what you "think."

As an American, other than a seven week stonewall, I want to know what our President "knows."

John Harville

@Contango.. by what right? Do you also want to know the strategy for defending other embassies? Why don't we just post it on FB or Twitter so all our enemies can know what the President/government know so that our enemies will know how to attack even more? What IS your need to know except to 'get' the president - who, by the way, is being VERY Presidential .


it's his job to be presidential.


It is also his job to protect national security - and I'm sorry - but that doesn't mean he has to release everything involving security to you or anyone else that is not in a "need to know" situation. How about you complain because the Military Leaders aren't holding a person conference with you before they do anything at the pentagon as well? You guys really need to get off this crap - and if this is the only thing you have to argue against Obama about - you really should stop supporting Romney because the arguments against him are hundreds more. Of course we don't dare mention any, because instead of arguing against that - you will just turn it back around to Lybia again because that's really all you have. The anti-Obama door has been closed - it's really no use. Romney lies every time he opens his mouth and all you have is Lybia. How about you try to make a valid argument FOR Romney/Ryan - probably because you really can't.
As for the "very very old" teleprompter argument. Stop - it's way beneath even a republican at this point. Every President used a teleprompter and I don't know if you are aware of it or not - but your FOX reporters all have teleprompters below the cameras as well. Of course, they actually write the information which is placed on those - pretty much the same as anyone else using a teleprompter.

Darwin's choice

He's a "post turtle".......


I thought Clinton and Biden were magnificent last night in Youngstown.

Darwin's choice

An adulterer and and a man with dementia impressed you?


Character assassination. Shame, Shame.


Character assassination. Shame, Shame.



They're "characters" all right.

So Mr. Clinton never had affairs or had to pay restitution for alleged rapes?

And Mr. Biden isn’t 70 yrs. old and hasn't displayed numerous memory lapses and gaffs?

And yes, I lived for one yr. in Y-town, worked in Sharon, PA and was VERY glad to get out.

the office cat

Contango... and Mr. Romney isn't 65 years old and had his wife - on national television - express her concern for what this campaign is doing to his mental health? And Nancy Reagan did NOT prompt her husband on answers because (for those of us who have worked with it know) he was in early stage dementia the last three years of his campaign - which he later admitted?
President Clinton: he was acquitted by the Senate. And you'd best present the court orders where he paid restitution for alleged rapes - key word 'alleged' (as opposed to 'forcible' or 'intelligent')


puttytat - money makes many things go away!! just ask bill or hillary.

the office cat

@Mikelputty... or Cheney or Bush?
Or Rmoney?


There is no court order in the case of a settlement. When parties agree to settle, the case is dismissed with prejudice.

John Harville

Ah. So you have nothing to post as proof? Actually, the Court has to record the final record of agreement before dismissing the case. So, you're saying when a couple gets a dissolution there is no record of the agreement? Put up or .........


see contango's post below.


@ the office cat:

Better see Paula Jones ($850K) and Juanita Broaddrick for two.

He also lost his law license for lying under oath.

Strange that you have no problem with his known infidelity.

John Harville

@Contango. No more than I have a problem with your alleged infidelities. And I say that completely without malice toward an entity who has chosen 'public figure' status.

John Harville

@ Contango. But if there's no record in a 'settlement' (Knuckle) how do you know the amounts. Post the record or blah blah blah.


Re:"But her parents, staunch Democrats she said, are voting for Romney." "They're concerned about Medicare," she said. "They think Obamacare is not for them."

Romney wants to "voucher" Medicare.

Turn Medicare into a voucher system. That means seniors would no longer have the guarantee of Medicare.

These two old farts (my age) think this is a good thing.........

If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.


Why would "old farts" like you worry? If you've read the plan then you know anyone over 50 will see no change at all. Anyone under 50 will be offered a choice of traditional Medicare, a voucher, or be able to enroll in the same plan that Congress is currently enrolled in. How many times does the Romney campaign have to say this before you get it through your thick skulls? Oh, that's right, the MSM won't completely cover the plan, just the voucher part. The plan also provides for more a more generous subsidy for lower income seniors and a decreased subsidy for the wealthy. If you make over a certain amount, there will be no subsidy, regardless of whether you paid in. So the rich will not benefit from the medicare program. It would be funny, if Democrats weren't so blind.

the office cat

@Knuckle. 'old farts' like us have children under 50 who will be faced with the voucher decision.
'old farts' like us have been dealing with the infamous 'donut hole' provided by the Republicans in the unfunded 'Medicare Advantage' that forced us to get 'supplemental' insurance for medicines.
So why would 'old farts' like us expect a 'young smell' like Ryan - whose only contact with entitlements was his father's SS benefit on which he went to college when he easily could have paid for it - is really concerned about us 'old farts'.


So you use Ryan as an example when Romney is the one running for President? By the way, Romney is 65 which puts him in what you consider the old fart category. Those of us who are "young smell" are the ones who are being drug under by you old farts. The old farts who have the mindset of, as long as I get mine, who cares about the young guys who are paying into it now. Your comment shows your obvious content for the current generation of workers. Keep in mind pops, if us "young smells" all stopped working, you old farts would be out on the street to your own devices. Without current workers paying in your benefits would be toast. Got it?

John Harville

@Got it a looooooooong time ago. In fact a coupla people on here educated you to the process. So you'd vote for an 'old fart' to run the country?
Knuckle "The old farts who have the mindset of, as long as I get mine, who cares about the young guys who are paying into it now. Your comment shows your obvious content for the current generation of workers."
I don't have content (sic) nor contempt for the 'working generation' (of which you assume us 'old farts' are not). "As long as I get mine..." Yup, I paid for my parents' and grandparents' retirement. Why should you be exempt from the same duty?