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.




We are 9 MILLION jobs short of what Obama promised us in 2008. We have 21 million still unemployed. And many of the people who are now "employed" have only PART-TIME jobs. Obama does NOT deliver. He's a modern-day charlatan... please do not vote him in again. Your kids don't deserve Obama's failures.


Obama got his fake photo-opportunity with Gov. Chris Christie in the hurricane aftermath, where Obama pretended to care about the victims. Then Obama got on his private jet and went to party with JayZ the pop-star in Vegas. How's that for a "president who cares"? Fire Obama! We need a president who is not a fraud.


So, what would you like Obama to do? He showed up and checked out the situation so he would know what needs to be done next. At least he didn't put on a fake show like romney did in Ohio at the red cross where he actually created MORE work for the red cross volunteers at a time when they really didn't need more work to do. He tried ot make it look good by purchasing a bunch of stuff to have people bring to donate. The killer part is that most of the stuff he collected nad donated is going to NJ instead of Ohio.


@ sanduskysteve:

Watching Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney in response to Sandy's aftermath reminds me of a quote by David Lee Roth at the MTV Music Awards show some yrs. ago:

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how good you looked."

And Mr. "Empty Shirt" Obama and Mr. "Frat Boy" Romney just want to look good!


When Obama took office, there were 7.8 million Americans unemployed. 4 years later, the new numbers were released: there are now 7.9 million Americans unemployed. Obama made ZERO progress in 4 years. For all his promises and campaign rhetoric, he made ZERO PROGRESS IN 4 YEARS. What a waste! He clearly is in over his head. Is that what you want for your kids... no improvement, ever?


@ Styx
Obama likely saved your pension.


eriemom writes:

"Obama likely saved your pension."

How so? Does Mr. Obama have some magical presidential powers?


Apparently so - this is the second hurricane that the republicans have blame on him and said he created. He is not a magician - he must be God.


@ sanduskysteve:

Didn't Mayor Bloomberg blame climate change? If so, Sandy's gotta be the Repubs fault right?

Now all Detroit has to do is figure out a way to create a hurricane - billions of borrowed dollars to the rescue!!!!

The Big Dog's back

No, mittwit is the one with the magical underwear.


Snap that magic underwear.




oh that can't be! (sarcasism) don't you watch his political lies on tv that says he created all of those jobs?? wish he would then state that there has been more that were lost....nah, never.


Romney is going to PA, so really desperate, and Ryan is looking for a new job.
Obama +300 electoral votes


FBI arrested Las Vegas woman that tried to vote twice.
GOP romney supporter.
We know where the "voter fraud"................


@ Kimo:

And you know positively for whom and/or on what she voted how?

Pres. Obama had to show a photo ID in order to vote. So much for Democrat squawking over "minority voter disenfranchisement."


Watch as people line up to vote for hours. How is that good for any of us? We shoud be having adult conversations about how to make sure that this sort of thing doesn't happen in American, not looking for ways to make it worse.


@ eriemom:

I cast my ballots by proxy for my investment shares over the Internet. No problem.

Just wait until we get Internet voting for political elections - should be fun.

BTW: Keep an eye on the CA ballot measure to raise income taxes on the rich. They have one of the highest state and local tax rates in the country and people have been voting with their feet.



So word is leaking out that Benghazi was a CIA operation.

Could that be one of the reasons that Joe Biden said at the VP debate that:
“we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again,”

So ignorance, a video and spontaneous demonstration remain the "official" WH position on the Benghazi "terrorist attack" after more than seven weeks?

Who's running this govt.; the CIA or the Sock Puppet-in-Chief?


@ Darwin's choice:

Many of the events surrounding The Watergate break-in were known prior to the election of '72. (I voted for McGovern.)

The severe political damage that followed came not so much the bungled and stupid act itself as it was the WH cover-up.

IMO, we could very well be witnessing a repeat of events of a politcal nature leading up to the possible impeachment of Pres. Obama.

Benghazi could be Mr. Obama's Watergate.

Mr. Obama may win the election battle and end up losing the political war.

Darwin's choice

We can only hope this is B Hussein Obama's downfall!


Kudos to Romney for encouraging people to vote out of love for America, rather than out of revenge like Obama suggested they do.

It's our right and our responsibility to vote out people who have the lack of integrity that Obama has displayed. His cover-up regarding the terrorist attack at Benghazi is shameful. CBS News finally broke the story about Obama covering it up so he could use the spin "I ended terrorism" during his 2012 campaign. How disgusting.

Obama is more concerned about how he looks while campaigning than keeping our American ambassadors alive. Well, nice, Obama... 4 dead now. How many more will die while you're trying to spin other campaign tactics?

Darwin's choice

Someone please post the same list as this for Obama, if you can......


For Obama, winning re-election depends on people forgetting that 4 years ago he actually promised us only 5.9% unemployment by 2012.

For Obama, winning re-election depends on the successful cover-up of how he mishandled the terrorist build-up and eventual attack in Benghazi.

For Obama, winning re-election depends on spinning the October job report rather than admit that unemployment actually increased during his 4 years.

For Obama, winning re-election depends on scaring women into thinking abortion rights will be taken away unless he himself is elected.

For Obama, winning re-election depends on tricking Ohio into thinking the government-subsidized "auto recovery" justifies the $16 trillion debt he saddled on America. And tricking Ohio into thinking the auto industry recovered, when it actually is being only temporarily propped up by government funding that will eventually be snatched away when China demands it. And hiding Jeep's intentions to ramp production in Italy/China, which WILL eventually cause a Jeep downsizing in Ohio.

For Obama, winning re-election depends on hiding the fact that the 32 coal-producing counties in Ohio will suffer under Obama's expensive and unproductive 'green initiatives'.


styx - speaking of debt - let's take another look at the difference between debt and deficit. I'm sure most of you republican math experts don't really understand this difference at all.

With the economy the way it is - it would be extremely difficult to erase the debt and in most cases it never gets completely removed at all anyway.

Debt is the accumulation of deficit. Deficit is only calculated by the year. In actual figures - the deficit has not grown by very much at all over the past 4 year periods. The issue is that the trillion dollar deficit from when Obama took office has only gone up this year by 40%. That's about 10% per year. No one complained about Bush's deficits of a trillion dollars. Each of those years of deficit added to the debt. Even if there is a surplus, the debt is not effected by very much at all.

Another point to be made here is that the budget office has confirmed that Romney's removal of the Healthcare Act will actually increase the budget by 500 billion dollars - not saving a single dime. That will increase the deficit for that year by a half a trillion dollars. Is this going to help? Increasing the taxes on the rich - even a little - will help the deficit simply by increasing revenue. Much more than increasing taxes on the poor and middle class while giving tax breaks to the rich. Those breaks will create a higher amount of deficit than the smaller amount of the increase in revenue created by increasing taxes on the lower incomes of the middle class - unless there is an attempt to increase the middle class tax rate by a larger amount still.

Here is a link that explains the difference between debt and deficit a little more:



@ 4shizzle:

So after almost eight weeks, what's the "official" story from the WH today on the Benghazi terrorist attack?

Are they still sticking with the "video caused a spontaneous demonstration" nonsense?


Remember: Change your clocks on Sun. and your President on Tues.

The Big Dog's back

Non issue winnie.


@ brutus:

Obviously, since admitting that there was a "terrorist attack" by militants isn't "optimal" for the Campaigner-in-Chief while he's working soooo hard at getting re-elected.

Remember: bin Laden is dead. A Benghazi "terrorist attack" doesn't fit with his political story line for the sheeple.