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.





the office cat

@ Contango. Structured bankruptcy.
Wonder why the "Son of Detroit" didn't invest some of his billions and jump back into the auto business? Who bought Romney's American Motors? Oh yeah, Chrysler.... American Motors - a merger of Nash and Hudson - was noted for buying, changing then selling specialized areas of the auto industry.


@ the office cat:

So you've bought a new GM or Chrysler vehicle recently?

How many shares of GM or Fiat do you own?

Darwin's choice


the office cat

43 Americans killed in United States foreign embassies and consulates ... why isn't @Contango so up in arms about that? Oh. Those were in George W. Bush's administration.


@ the office cat:

The "cover-up" is the story, not the deaths.

So more than seven weeks later is spontaneous demonstration caused by a video 'still' the "official" WH answer?

the office cat

@Contango. You mean the coverup of those 43 deaths, right?

Because I know you didn't mean the deaths of four Americans was not the the story.


@ the office cat:

So there was cover-up regarding the diplomatic deaths during the Bush Admin. and the Obama Admin. is carrying on the tradition?

So what's official WH story on Benghazi today? Mr. Obama said that info would be forthcoming as they learned it - what is it?


Hmmm - maybe because he has not learned it yet? Maybe because it would be against security and an effort to go after those who committed the crimes?? Think a little. So, the question is still on the table for you - when will there be an uproar by the republicans about the cover-up in the Bush Admim?


@ sanduskysteve:

Mr. Obama had little problem "outing" the security of the Navy Seal team that got bin Laden.

Heck, the Admin. is even helping with the movie. Probably tick 'em off in the Middle East.

Yea, during the VP debate Joe Biden said that he and the prez were ignorant.

And you want an ignorant guy for President????

The Big Dog's back

2 words, darrel issa.

Darwin's choice


Darwin's choice



Repeating it won't make it true - even Romney will have to learn that some day.

Darwin's choice

Obama touts the Navy Seals when bin laden is killed, but when the Seals request assistance from Oblama, their denied! You can twist this any way you'd like, point blame back to Abraham Lincoln for other deaths, But, these are on OBAMA ! You can blather on about it, but the FAILURE remains. You can reply when you get back to work tomorrow!

Darwin's choice


the office cat

Feel the overwhelming re-election spirit sweeping the nation returning the greatest president of the 21st century to another term... Electoral College Karma.

Darwin's choice

Blah, Blah, Blah


10 out of the last 18 post were from cat. Am I smelling panic? 5 days left of this nonsense.


LOL that'a funny - when you consider that the rest were "Obama=failure".


Mitt Romney’s White House bid comes down to business experience – i.e. he has it, the president doesn’t.

To that end, the Romney campaign trotted out a roster of well-known business leaders Thursday who are backing the Republican presidential nominee. Supporters include Charles Schwab, Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers and Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot. The newest name on the list belongs to Intel CEO Paul Otellini, a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Mr. Otellini’s relationship with the president has been hot-and-cold since Mr. Obama took office. In 2010, he criticized the administration for failing to generate more robust job growth. He was particularly critical of the stimulus. But the Intel CEO joined the president’s so-called jobs council to much fanfare the following year as Mr. Obama embarked on a very public – if short-lived – courtship of big business.

The president lauded Intel for investing in the U.S. during a trip last year to one of the chipmaker’s advanced manufacturing facilities in Oregon. During the visit, Mr. Otellini announced plans to build a $5 billion production facility in Arizona that would employ thousands of workers in the U.S. The Intel chief also made two high-profile trips to the White House, including a state dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao. But the jobs council has not held an official meeting since January – a fact Republicans like to highlight.

Obama has no business experience !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The only thing that Romney's business experience has gotten him is millions in government money to HELP him "fix the Olympics", it has gotten tons and tons of jobs sent to China and literally thousands of people put out of work which resulted in ROMNEY making millions - and Romney apparently learned from business experience how to make up lots of lies. He has failed any test of his math skills and then refuses to "show his work", which I always had to do in math classes. Romney has created lots of jobs in China - and has purchased a lot of his campaign items (ball caps and bobble-head dolls) from China - even a factory in China owned by his brother-in-law.
And just to make sure he will win this election no matter who we vote for by fixing the vote on the voting machines that HE HAS PART OWNERSHIP in. Those very machines in Ohio belong to him.


Almost forgot - I did notice that all of those Romney supporters in the list you posted are Million and Billionaires. So, wouldn't it be normal for them to support the man who is going to rid them of tax liabilities and continue to let them make huge profits - pay no taxes - but received millions in tax refunds?? Exxon comes to mind here.


@ sanduskysteve:

Strangely, the rich are gettin' richer under Pres. Obama.

How can that be if he says that he's workin' to help the middle class?

Hey! Al Gore's now worth an estimated $100M. How'd he do it? He invested in a few of those "green" cos. Mr. Obama gave stimulus money to.

The joke's on the Obamasheeple and sadly they don't see it.


I don't have a problem with people getting rich - or staying rich - or getting richer. I have aproblem with them not playing on a level playing field with the rest of us to GET RICH and RICHER. I have rules to follow - they should too. They don't - and it not only is an advantage to them - but a hinderance to the rest of us. I never heard Obama say he was against the rich because they are rich. But I have heard Romney say he was against the poor because they are NOT rich.

Darwin's choice

Looks like history will tell you that the U.S. economy has done worse during the terms of the Presidents with successful business experience and better under Presidents with little or no business experience!

CHECK IT OUT: http://www.washingtonpost.com/op...



The link looks like it is too long...Google Washington Post article: "Can a businessman help the econony? For Presidents the answer has been no."


the office cat writes:

"...returning the greatest president of the 21st century to another term."

So every president from now until the year 2100 will not measure up to the caliber of Barack Obama? LMAO!!!

Man, It's gonna be one sad century!


History, my dear friend - learn it. The 21st century goes from 2000 to 2099.