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.





Far too simplistic of a conclusion as to causality.

Regardless, FDR didn't end the Great Depression, only WWII did.

Are you suggesting that Mr. Obama should start a war?

The Big Dog's back

Government spending did.

the office cat

@Contango: Too simplistic? Buying on margins? Prohibition which gave birth to organized crime? Banks failing?
FDR didn't end the Great Depression. No one person ends a depression or recessioin - something a lot of you don't seem to grasp. But FDR and Congress DID put people back to work - NRA, CCC, WPA - and a lot of other alphabet soup. Schools and post offices and other structures were constructed. Cities and towns got sidewalks and brick streets. The TVA ended annual floods and brought electric power to the country.
Nobody but you has suggested Obama start a war. FDR didn't start a war either but he had kept auto plants open so they immediately switched to production of tanks and airplanes and the shipyards were ready to build ships.
Obama inherited two wars - ended one - but this time the wars Bush started crippled the economy.
However, if mobilization is needed again, we still have auto factories to build tanks and such.
Should we note that eventually - after all the progress and rescuing - the Supreme Court ruled the NRA unconstitutional?
YOu go, OMG. Repubs don't like to admit what happened in the 20s and early 30s because it put them out of power almost 50 years - even Ike would have been a Democrat today (think about that as you tool along the NDH system of roads))


@ the office cat:

You can still buy stocks on margin.

So trillions more of massive govt. deficit spending will propel our country to prosperity?

So why don't you get out your credit cards and charge your way to wealth?


It's sad to see just how well the Romney progaganda machine is working. To think that there are actually people voting for Romney BECAUSE they're worried about losing their Medicare benefits. This is like the hen voting for the fox, since Romney plans to turn Medicare into an out-of-pocket voucher system. Unfortunately, they won't figure it out until the bills start arriving in their mailbox for medical treatments/meds they used to get 100% free through Medicare.

In case anyone hasn't heard, the $716 billion of Medicare cuts that Romney and Ryan are lying about is NOT a cut in anyone's Medicare coverage by Obama. It's $716 billion in SAVINGS - FOR consumers. Doctors would be paid less for some services, which means WE pay less. Also the SAME $716 billion in "cuts" is contained in Ryan's budget proposal!!!

It is good to know that some people have taken time to wade through the misinformation. Congrats to the mom in this article with 3 kids in college, who understands that Romney plans to abolish the college tuition tax credit, and plans to cut funding for college Pell grants. Obama, in contrast, will continue to work to increase funding for Education and college grants. For this mom, the Romney Plan would take $3000-5000 out of her pocket...

And all so that we can give millionaires another tax cut they don't need.


That savings you are talking about isn't really savings. Seniors will have to pay for it by dwindling choices of Dr's who will take on Medicare patients. If they keep cutting payments, eventually seniors only options will be to go to the ER or the Health Department for care. Apparently this is what liberals would rather have than a viable plan to make medicare solvent.


Rmoney said that is what the ER is for. You know, that safety net!

The Big Dog's back

robme/ryan plan for Medicare- Couponcare!


coasterfan writes:

"Doctors would be paid less for some services, which means WE pay less."

Magical Obamanomics!!!

Any business can only offer three things: Price, quality and service.

Pick two, 'cause you can't have all three.

Asking doctors to accept less in payment will result in either lower quality or poorer service - guaranteed.

So if teachers were paid less, students would learn more? :)


Contango, it will result in little service. I already know doctors who won't take on anymore medicare patients and that are phasing them out of their practice by attrition. Medicare already pays less than the cost of providing care. Anymore cuts to reimbursement will lead to most doctors dropping out altogether, leaving seniors in the same boat as Medicaid patients.


This is the second time that you have posted this statement. Please name the doctors. As far as I know you never answered this question.


@ eriemom:

A Letter to the Editor from a doctor I recently read:



Wall Street Journal opinion from a person living in Texas. Knuckledragger posted the statement, but I would accept a local doctor's name from you as well, Smith. It is not difficult to fact check a local doctor now is it.


@ eriemom:

So that doctor was lying?

Do you have a family phys.? Go talk to him/her.


So now you want me to call out Dr's in a public forum? I can tell you my Family Physician has stopped taking Medicare patients. Maybe you should befriend a few, they might tell you. Call around and ask several offices if they are accepting new medicare patients and you may be able to answer your question, especially specialists. Had to get my mom into an ortho doctor and nobody in Sandusky would take on a new medicare patient. Had to take her to Toledo.


who, in their right mind in a free enterprise system, would take medicare patients when the fed gov't is going to cut their payouts??? maybe the feds can take all medical personnel that are behind on their student loans and make them work it off!!


Funny how this is working out - no real answers. Not taking new patients. Why not? Just because they have medicare is a stupid reason, to be honest. If you own a business - would you rather get less business at very high charges or more business with a few smaller charges??? And I'm sure there are probably tons of doctors who are behind on their student loans. Maybe THIS is the real reason they are afraid.
On the other hand - this will mean a huge opening in this country for more and more doctors and nurses. I think it will end up increasing jobs (OH MY, CAN NOT DO THIS NOW CAN WE?). It would seem to me that creating higher paying jobs would be a good thing as a result.
And, instead of condemning Obama for trying to same taxpayer money from over charging doctors and hospitals simply because the government is paying the bill, you should be behind him for assisting with cutting the ripping off of your tax dollars by private industry. Oh wait, that's exactly what republicans want and look forward to!!! And you guys have not explained how Obama's cut to payments for medicare are any different than the same plan from RYAN. Stop beating a dead horse and just answer the questions. I can tell who the republicans are on here - they are the ones that refuse to answer a question with a straight answer - funny how this is a trait shared by even RYAN and ROMNEY.


Do you really think the quality is good now!? Sounds like Contangonomics to me!


@ deertracker:

So to improve the quality, doctors should be paid less?

the office cat

@Contango. Yes.
Paying them more hasn't worked.


@ the office cat:

Got any stats to back up that nonsense?

I've been reading for a couple yrs. that there's a doctor shortage, payin' them less should help improve the employment numbers eh?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


How about those doctors that continuously spend money on top of money for things not needed just because the government is paying the bills and charging more to medicare than they do to insurance companies just starting doing the right thing instead of trying to get richer and richer off ME, yes the taxpayer's dime. How about if they don't want to take the patients - then yes, this will help unemployment greatly. You guys don't want to count the part-time workers as employed - how about a bunch new doctors coming out of medical school?? Would you consider them employed?? So, yes, by making the doctors and hospitals accountable with taxpayer money, it would actually help unemployment. I don't consider myself stupid - I can just think for myself and don't rely on some radio talk show host or television station to tell me what to think and why.


great. let's ask the doctors to stop ordering more tests. fine with me. expect the unemployment to rise with all of the x-ray techs, med techs etc having less work which means that their employers will need less of them. great suggestion steve.


It was the medical profession that decided to start doing that crap to begin with! We will still need those professionals. But let's be honest (not that this is possible for a republican) - if someone has insurance or medicare there are many extra tests done just because they will be paid for - and this includes medicaid as well. Also, you see a lot of the same tests done multiple times as you shove the patient from one doctor to another. The previous test results COULD follow the patient couldn't it? It does when the patient doesn't have insurance. Yes, a great suggestion in my opinion to stop the overcharging from hospitals and doctors just because someone has insurance or medicare or medicaid. And you guys should be all over it - especially since Ryan and Romney think the same thing.

the office cat

@Contango. Stats: where to begin. At least five reports by medical providers and insurance companies... but you've been 'reading' for two years so you know that.
Personal experience? Specialist had to order a second scan because the first was unreadable due to technician error - $2,600. "Everything appears to be okay though difficult to read" written comment from cardiologist 'reading' a difficult ECG - $3,400 - $1,200 for the 'reading'. Equipment stopped producing data halfway through a brain scan that required running tube through groin to put dye in brain...$6,000 for the procedure after the equipment was fixed. The out-patient procedure required a hospital stay at an additional $3,000.
Then there is the doctor who schedules three appts every 15 minutes - including the pharmaceutical salesman who got the first slot - and charges $77 which he can collect just for taking BP/weight and listening to heart and lungs (insurance companies require at least three procedures to pay).
Then he has to leave because he gets a call his plane is fueled and ready to leave for his 3:00 court in Cleveland.


Who are your voters?

In Ohio we understand that President Obama has saved thousands of jobs that are a part of the auto industry chain. We also see nominee Romney running scared, because he now understands that his stand on the auto bailout was a mistake. Unlike other mistakes that he has made, and changed through the course of the primary and presidential election, this one will not just go away. He cannot lie his way out of it. Today Chrysler put out a statement that told as much.


So you trust large corperations to keep their word now? Are you a browns fan by chance? HA!


Very good point - Bain Capital comes to mine.


romney never said that it was a mistake! there is absolutely no proof that gm and chrysler would not have emerged from bankrupcy following normal procedures. unless of course, you are drinking the prezo kool aid.