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.




Society is not OBLIGATED either. When you repay your loans, society is off the hook!


I agree. The problem is personal responsibility is not a high priority these days and a contract is not binding if you whine loud enough.


@ deertracker:

Repay? Better check recent student loan default rates:

"The percentage of borrowers who defaulted on their federal student loans within two years of their first payment jumped to 9.1% in fiscal year 2011, up from 8.8% the previous year, according to U.S. Department of Education data released Friday."

Looks like a repeat of the sub-prime housing bubble burst!



Hmm - well first let's remind you once again that the student loan remains with you for ever, they never default until it's paid. If it ends up on your credit report - it is there until it is paid in full - no way to remove it prior to that - so you do end up in a fix if you wish to purchase something on credit while it is not being paid. Also, student loans continue to rack up interest until it is paid - again there is no "write off" available which stops the collection process and the interest - it continues to grow - which continues to damage the debtor's credit.

Now, let's also look at your figures and match them to the employment figures. Seems to me to be normal that if there are no jobs for these graduates, then their loans are not going to be paid until they can get a job. The payments on the loans generally start 6 months following graduation. Unless you drop out early, then the payments start immediately.
Do some homework before just spewing tainted information.

the office cat

@2cents. Were those private scholarships to private colleges that don't accept Pell Grants or Stafford Loans or federally-backed loans? Cuz I certainly hope none of my tax dollars would intrude on your glorious self-image. I'm so happy you think you 'have enough of it funded...for the four years'. Have you ever sent a child to college? It sounds as if she is your 'only'. What if it had been necessary to open CDs for two or three children? Having helped two through college, I assure you there are a lot of pitfalls for which you haven't prepared.


Agreed mikel. If you can't send your kids to college then the kids can either work their way through, or go into the military to get it paid for. I'm sick of the excuses. My parents weren't poor but they sure as heck didn't pay for my college education. I used a combination of military tuition assistance and my own money to obtain a Bachelor's degree. I used my own money from working to complete my Master's degree. Did it take a bit longer? Yes, 8 yrs for my Bachelor's and 5 years for my Master's. The end result was the same, an education without debt.

the office cat

@knuckle. So you used government assistance. Who passed the GI Bill? Who recently extended it and expanded it for current military. So you disagree with Rmoney that kids should borrow from their parents?


He still gets a gubment check!


Still sounding like an idiot I see.


Actually I think that kids should work their way through school like I did. It gives them a better appreciation of the education that they received. Despite deerhumpers idiotic assertion that career military people don't work for the benefits they receive, and fail to see the difference between an earned benefit and retirement and a welfare check. Deertracker has long had an inferiority complex due to the fact that he has to be supported by his wife.


Wait a minute - I thought retirement (SS) was considered an entitlement???? Are you telling me it actually is a "benefit"??? By the way - while active you were exempt from federal income tax - why aren't you upset that Romney called you a victim who will never take personal responsibility for yourself? You're actually going to vote for him and support the man that called you a name. How strange.


Double post!


@ deertracker:

So after seven weeks, what's the "official" WH story on Benghazi?

Are they still sticking with the spontaneous riot and the video story?


You really got your tightie whities all bunched up about Benghazi! Relax, don't panic!


Relax, don't panic!

Is that what Obama The Clueless is telling Chris Steven's mother?

Oh that's right, he hasn't said anything to her!


oh snap!


Where did you learn that....... BET?


white house.


Do you really care about Stevens or are you just using this to vent about the President? I bet the latter. What about those 4000 soldiers that died for a LIE? Oh snap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


@ deertracker:

"A lie"? Where's the "official" Congressional Report on the Iraq War?

So the fact that so many Dems voted for the Iraq Resolution means what; that they were lied to and were stupid or that they were co-conspirators?


Where's the WMD? Where? They were lied to just like you and I but the President......Senator at the time....... did not fall for it. Smart guy!


@ deertracker:

The Dems had the same Intel as the Bush Admin. So were they stupid or co-conspirators?

Pres. Obama was not a U.S. Senator in 2002.


LMAO! BABOOM!!! Funny how he didn't even know Obama wasn't even a Senator at the time Congress voted to go to war with Iraq. I guess in his defense, he does his fact checking on MSNBC, and liberals believe they are never wrong. Just FYI deertracker, Obama wasn't a Senator until January 4, 2005. LOL. Smack!!! Darn Fruit Flies.


You are right GOMER. Still a very smart guy though.


@ KnuckleDragger:

Yea, I was livin' in Chicago at the time and my first "wiff" of Mr. Obama was when Jack Ryan, his Repub opponent's "sealed" divorce records "mysteriously" showed up.

I'm pretty politically astute and I never even heard of the guy until he ran for the Senate.

It's not like he was some major IL politician or sumpthin.


Maybe not all that "astute" afterall. Now he is the President, surprise surprise! You act as though he broke into the courthouse and stole the records. Five million to a charity of your choice if you can prove it!


@ deertracker:

You obviously don't know Chicago Democrat machine style politics. LOL

BTW: He lied to the people of IL when he said that he would complete his term:

On "Meet the Press" Jan. 22, 2006, Tim Russert and Sen. Obama had the following exchange:

Russert: "When we talked back in November of '04 after your election, I said, 'There's been enormous speculation about your political future. Will you serve your six-year term as United States senator from Illinois?'

Obama: 'Absolutely.'"


You don't have enough lifetimes, or welfare checks to pay off a bet like that :)


@ KnuckleDragger:

IL has the worst credit rating of any state.

Gov. Quinn (D) raised income taxes to help pay down the debt. Corps. complained, threatening to leave the state and he cut 'em deals

Now the state is takin' in less revenue than before the tax increase. LOL.

Glad I got out when I did.

What the Dems have done for IL (and Detroit) they can certainly do for the U.S.


What lie was that deertracker? Are we talking WMD in Iraq? Were you there? Have you ever gotten out of your chair and served your country in the armed forces? That's what I thought. Was in Iraq, WMDs were in fact found. Actually, enough mustard, as well as materials to make nerve gas to take out most of the middle east. Iraq had much more than was found however they had moved a great deal of it to Syria prior to the war. If you were paying attention part of Iraq's stockpile was found recently in Syria. Quit watching PMSNBC and you may have actually heard it reported.