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.




Go away Gomer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Pot, meet Kettle. Gomer, LOL. I guess I should take that as compliment coming from you.


@ KnuckleDragger:

Shazam! :)


I'm not sure why I respond to him. He is about as intelligent as a fruit fly. Cheap entertainment I guess, and since I'm stuck in my house with both ends of my road flooded, I have plenty of time to argue with him. ;)


My suggestion is....Don't respond!


OK there little Deerhumper.


Shazam???? You are just too old!


I could have said Guber!

the office cat

Pete. You lie! the president met the families when their sons/fathers arrived home and met personally with the families...one reason Stevens' mother insisted rmoney stop using her son as a political weapon.


@ the office cat:

So why's the President so testy when asked for additional details?

Why no press conference after seven weeks?

the office cat

@con. why is a press conference necessary? Should we now conduct all wars and diplomacy by press conference? Besides, what will you harp on or try to use on the President after said conference. Did Reagan ever give a press conference on Iran-Contra?


@ the office cat:

So the WH is still sticking with the spontaneous riot over a video story?

The lack of new info has become the story.

He was happy as a clam to tell the world about bin Laden.

Face it: It just ain't "optimal" this close before an election to talk about it.


@ deertracker:

Expecting an honest answer or maybe a press conference regarding what the WH knows about the Benghazi "act of terror," after seven weeks shouldn't be expected by Americans?

The timing isn't "optimal" so close before the election is it?

the office cat

@Con how many years was it before Oliver North talked about Iran-Contra.


@ the office cat:

So Mr. Obama is covering something up?


Instead of trying to make a political statement out of the death of an American Diplomat, try reading something from a friend of the man.

Through emails just prior to his death he made it clear that we should, "Stay the course."


@ eriemom:

Why is asking for answers out of this WH always framed as partisan and political?

Is he the (bleepin') President or not?

If this were Pres. Bush would you still be patient with a seven week old stonewall?

And don't tell me that the election has nothing to do with it. He just hopes it goes away.

Now he's got Sandy, so he can try to look presidential again.

the office cat

@Contango. Acutally I'm still patient with a 9-year stonewall on Iraq and the 9/11 and where he was while the attacks were ongoing and where the WMDs were. And OMG it's been a 32-year stonewall about Reagan making a deal with Iran not to release the hostages until his inauguration day. Seven weeks? A bit wimpy on your part, doncha think.?


@ the office cat:

You're equating I-C and the Iraq War to Benghazi? So what do you think that the WH is covering up?


@ contango

I think I should sue you for plagerism.

The Big Dog's back

I want answers why Hurricane Sandy happened!


Here we go again - change the subject when it starts to hit close to home.


Remember the "Great Depression"?
Hoover (R)
Coolidge ( R)
R (Coolidge)
Harding (R)



The Great Depression lasted from 1921 to 1931? What are you attempting to write?


LOL - I thought it was self explainatory to me - he covered the dates from 1921 to 1931 pretty complete - just in the opposite order - no harm done there - I also notice there is only ONE "D" showing in those years. Funny how the D appeared in the last year - hmm at the time of RECOVERY??? The Rs it would appear had a hard time fixing the problem. Sounds just like today if you ask me.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t... Obama supporters. Enough said!


Benghazi coverup, and now this. The job and labor report due today is UNEXPECTICALLY(LOL) late The construction and factory orders due Friday will be late according to the Census. Both will CONVIENTLY(LOL) be released after the election. What a buch of crooks we have in the WH.


An Obama campaign ad about the music on his iPod was airing while the hurricane was hitting.


It's from Obama Media - ABC.

Can his handlers make this guy look any more out-of-touch?

Time to send Mr. "Cool" back to his home planet of Vulcan.


Just an FYI - Obama did not specify when the ads will run - or anyone who puts out political ads. The TV stations block those ads as to when they air. They are required by law to air so many within certain time periods. No argument needed on this - I was an engineer at a television station and I know how that works. Can't blame when an ad is aired on Obama - nice try though.


To those who need explanation:
The R is for Republican.
They controlled it all from 1921 up to the crash of 29.