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.

 

Comments

sanduskysteve

Does it really matter WHEN they merged??? Come on.

shucks

@contango

Sticking your head in your sand again?

That's it, don't address it--even though you demand others to answer your questions.
Ignore it, talk about something else.
Is it Romneysia?

Darwin's choice

Speaking of sticking your head someplace..........http://youtu.be/gsa4uLmTw0M

shucks

@ darwin
You think that Hannity,Mark Levin,and Rush are critical thinkers?
Boy, that tells a LOT about you--you admire hateful and twisted men.

http://youtu.be/wt9AcJmsvFk

When you cruise around downtown Sandusky, stick your head out the window and yell: "I'm Romney's chump!" about a thousand times.

The elitist joke is on you.

eriemom

The Congressional Research center.

Randy_Marsh

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/... Dimocrat of the year!!!

Darwin's choice

Huh ! Kinda like the Nobel Prize awarding group!

The Big Dog's back

The right has nothing, nothing.

Darwin's choice
Darwin's choice

And Obama has his record of FAILURE ! "snip, snip," Big Dog!

Randy_Marsh

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...
After 8 weeks they admit the CIA was involved! Like anyone with a brain didnt know that 2 weeks after the fact. With reporting that good they should get around to reporting the winner of WW2 by next month.HA!

shucks

@ randy_marsh

Contango thinks one of your favorite news sites(Huffington Post) is garbage reporting?

What do you think of that?

Randy_Marsh

4Shizzle
After 7 weeks they just reported TODAY that the CIA was involved, After 7 weeks its not news. Its not one of my favorites but i like to understand why those on the left think the way they do. Its like published mass hysteria there, Funny to watch yet depressing to know there are people like that out there.

shucks

@randy marsh
I used to watch Fox News just to get an idea of how the right thinks.
Unlike you, I find it horrifying and sickening to know that there are people like that out there.

Randy_Marsh

4Shizzle
Like what exactly? Those who want to behead rich people, Hate fellow citizens so bad they wish they were beaten, Tells people to vote early and often, Wishes others to die because the disagree,Want to riot if the lose and scream about their love of democracy? Oh my bad you love that stuff, What exactly horrifys and sickens you, That some have the ability to count and can see where we are heading or that some still believe in individual rights and the government should not have as much power as it does? Please fill the rest of us in because those on the left are some of the rudest most inhospitable people i have ever had the misfortune of meeting.

shucks

marsh
Funny, that's how I view the Republicans(Rush Limbaugh,Shawn Hannity etc.)
I told how I came to my conclusions in an earlier post.
Do you want to hear it again?

Randy_Marsh

4shizzle
A suggestion for you then, Get away from US media. RT,Bloomberg,BBC ect. They do not have a agenda to push. Those of us who want the real storys often look outside the media circus.

shucks

marsh
Then, give me names of who to watch.

Randy_Marsh

4Shizzle
RT, BBC, Bloomberg, Al jeezera is decent if you watch the euro version, Businessweek, Forbes, Reuters if it comes straight from the source ect, ect. All American media is comprimised to support a agenda. The over seas news have no reason to lie against what we are doing. Think about it would you rather watch a media that is foriegn or one that is owned by GE who's owner is sitting in the white house and hides the truth?

shucks

marsh
I'd like to ask you a personal question.
Do you make $250 g's or more? Because this election appears to be only about the rich protecting their precious money and trying to get more.

Randy_Marsh

4shizzle
The answer is no.
With Obama bailing out the banks at 85 billion a month who is protecting who? My and your taxes are going up jan 1st, Cannot blame bush. Do you think Obama cares as he sends his family overseas on a vacation or goes to Vegas for another private concert by Jay-Z or any number of guest? Have fun trying to pin it on the rebublicans when the Democrats had 2 years they could pass anything and didnt do a thing except raise taxes on the middle class with "Obamacare" (Have fun with the new tax sheet)

sanduskysteve

Let me give you an example of those on the right - if you are really truly rapped you can't get pregnant - if your child is unruly and won't obey you, the state should put him/her to death - all females who use contraceptives are sluts and whores - if your boy even begins to act gay you should beat it out of him - gays and lesbians should be put to death - just a few examples of the republican beliefs - oh yeah, woman should not expect to get equal pay for equal work. And then you have the Romney religious beliefs from the past that we need to go back to black slavery and it's ok to have more than one wife (still practiced in some sects of the religion). Everything they stand for is pushing women down. And that's only a small exerpt of the stupid beliefs of the republican party.

Randy_Marsh

Steve
Really? Those on the right do not want a theocracy, They want the government to get out of their business and not spoon feed them everything cradle to grave. They also want the original meaning of the constitution restored to where people are apprecieated for being individuals instead of a faceless mass and have enough personal responsibility to accept their mistakes and become a better citizen. NOT a bunch of sheep that do not have to account for anything they do because they can blame others.

sanduskysteve

Are you seriously going to try to tell me that those things are NOT true??? The republicans have nothing better to do anymore than attempt to attack womens rights at every turn. Although recently they have been more into lie after lie after lie about everything else. You may be right that this week, republicans have not talked much about pushing women down and taking away their rights. Romney still argues that he will reverse roe-vs-wade and then outlaw abortion - it's on his website! He still is insistent that Jeep is moving everything to China - even though it is not true and everyone has told him that over and over again. He still insists that there is no climate change (the last couple of years should have shown him that time and time again. It just doesn't make sense to vote for a group that has no concept of real life and living in the middle of middle class average america. I know it's hard to imagine how everyone else lives when you have never had to work a day in your life and everything was given to you. And collecting unwanted food for the red cross is NOT work.

mikel

dude, get back on your meds!

Darwin's choice

From the Plain Dealer tonight...."4 men arrested in Perrysburg for stealing Romney signs while driving sheet metal union truck "
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

mikel

thats freakin funny as he!!

mikel

here you go!!!!

"Perrysburg police today issued misdemeanor citations to four men for allegedly being in possession of stolen political signs.

Those charged with receiving stolen property included John Russell, 39, of Toledo, and Chris Monaghan 41, of Rossford, who are both listed on the Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Web site as business agents for the union’s Toledo district.

The men were in a pickup truck registered to Local 33 in Parma, Ohio, police said.

Also cited were Corey J. Beaubien, 37, and Sean Bresler, 33, both of Toledo"

bahahahhahahahhahahaa!! it's scary to think that these guys were probably the brains behind it all!!

kURTje

A man of stature still endorses Obama. Please don't degrade Colin Powell. He was never AWOL or a chicken-hawk.

shucks

well said

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