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.



John Harville

@Mikel... and yet John and Mary months ago began the preparations for Ohio's exchange.

John Harville

@Mikel. Impressive! That you actually read ALL 159 pages before calling it 'great reading'.
And you were able to 'boil down' 159 pages of tables and explanations and discussions of ONE RFP and come up with "catastrophic rate increases' with which to scare people and namecall the democraps.
Tell us please: what IS and RFP and if there were others.
Were you going to tell us this dates from August when our Director of Insurance and her boss decided Ohio should be ready 'just in case' Rmoney doesn't have a Day One to repeal Obamacares?


I have refrained from commenting for quite some time. I still read the posts and have come to the conclusion of why we have fallen so far behind other countries concerning our education level. Spending billions on education is going to do very little making half this country any smarter. A lot of people could have their hand in front of their faces and if they were told top count their toes they'd believe they were really toes. These people have the (Ability or lack there of) to completely forget what they were told. You can debate either candidate and be narrow minded about your choice but there was no question, I was very happy not to have four more years of Bush, I thought. Careful what you wish for. I have become more "Predjudiced" not by the color of ones skin as I have always had a strong dislike for a Nazi, Rapist, Communist, Pedophile, and now you can certainly add Muslims to the list.


@ ezob
"These people have the (Ability or lack there of) to completely forget what they were told."

This is my observation-- they(not all) don't want to remember.They don't really want truth or to be fair and balanced, if they did, the game would be over.
They are addicted to the adrenalin rush that comes with hate and nastiness.

John Harville

@EZOB... so you put an entire religion in a grouping with "Nazi, Rapist, Communist, Pedophile..."?
I wonder if the Moderator overlooked this - or agrees with it.


Thats funny considering you think everyone who disagrees with your messiah is a racist. HA!


It's a philosophy, not the person running!


Just saying!


When liars figure, figures lie.


@ contango

This was taken from the same page about the horrific Ipod scandal.


What did Bush do when he heard about the Twin Towers?
He sat there and sat there and etc.



The Greatest Generation is sad; I know my father is one of them.
President Bush had a class full of children in front of him.
His face was horrified but he kept the children from freaking out.
He closed with his visit and prepared to leave, he boarded his aircraft and took control of the situation.
He did not fly to a campaign rally in Vegas!

Just saying!

John Harville

@2cents. Really? He boarded his aircraft and flew all over the country trying to stay out of harms way. Meanwhile the Saudis flew his family out of the country so they would be safe. He did not make ONE comment to the nation about protection, about the incidents, about plans... he hid. Just sayin'.


John, The Whithouse was a target, that was a known. The VP and everyone else was in bunkers underground. Hard to fly home and he was in communication, F16 were scrambled but they did not know where to go, what planes to shoot down!

Obama could have put some gunships over the compound and sat there, any fire on them would be automatic return fire to the ground. The bad guys may have run off!

John Harville

@It was NOT known the White House was a target. There were any number of safe bases to which the President could have been taken. So if the f-16s didn't know where to go or what planes to shoot down, why was it safe for the President to be IN A PLANE that one of those unknown planes might shoot down?
If he was in communication, the plane could have been an easy target honing in on his communication signals.
How did they know the WH was a target? At the time, some thought the plane taken down in Pennsylvania was headed for Chicago or Detroit.
From where comest the gunships and how long to arrive?


@ John Harville:

So just like they protected Pres. Bush, 11 yrs. ago, the Secret Service had Mr. Obama fly outa town to LV for fundraising?

Interesting tactic.

John Harville

For all you critics: An excerpt from the President's speech in Las Vegas September 12 - be sure to read the last paragraph:
"THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. So I wanted to begin tonight by just saying a few words about a tough day that we had today. We lost four Americans last night, who were killed when they were attacked at a diplomatic post in Libya. And they were serving overseas on our behalf, despite the dangers, despite the risks, to help one of the world’s youngest democracies get on its feet. They were working to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans. And as Americans, we stand united -– all of us -– in gratitude for their service, and we are mindful of their sacrifice, and we want to send out heartfelt prayers to their loved ones who grieve today. (Applause.)...

As for the ones we lost last night: I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice. (Applause.) And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm: No (!) ACT OF TERROR (!)will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America. (Applause.)...


@ John Harville:

"Act of terror"?

Why can't he used the word "militant" or "terrorism"?

Guess those terms aren't "optimal" on the eve of an election.

It might give the appearance that this Admin. didn't end terrorist networks with the killing of bin Laden.


He didn't take control of crap. He shut down all flights in the US - EXCEPT the one his friends (Bin Ladden's family) was on to get them out of here before the Americans found out they were financing the attack. He (his VP) failed to order any jets to shoot down anything during the attack. He had lots of prior knowledge this was going to happen and still was not prepared and did nothing to prevent this from happening. All he was concerned with was finishing the job his daddy started in Iraq and he was hell-bent on making sure it happened. This was the perfect method to get his agenda going. Then he lied about WMDs to ensure he would have congress behind him. He later stated that his intelligence was in error about teh WMDs, but by then it was way to late to stop the war. He even went so far as to tell a news reporter when asked about his concern for Bin Ladden that he wasn't concerned about him. Yes, the man who actually lead the attack on the US, OUR President was no longer concerned about him. I'm not interested in trying to compare Obama to Bush - there just is no comparison. It is not always good to make a bunch of stupid statements until every single fact is in and every single investigation is completed because you only look like a jerk (Bush). Obama said he was going after those responsible, and his previous actions as President proves that he will do as he says he will. After all, HE was the one that finally got the last guy to attack America and I have confidence he will get this one too. And, I don't think we need to attack Iran to get the group, Mr. Romney.


@ 4shizzle:

A moot point. Fiat says that they may move Jeep production to Italy.

So you're writing that Pres. Obama is as incompetent or more so than Pres. Bush?

Pres. Bush went to NYC. Is Mr. Obama going to Benghazi? :)

So why isn't the WH telling Americans what they know about the Benghazi "terrorist attack"; why are we only hearing info from the media????


@ contango a.k.a shape shifter, roger dodger, Romney

Moot my foot.
Stay on the topic.


@ 4shizzle:

Instead of China, Fiat may move Jeep production to Italy - moot point (your foot).



Tue, 10/30/2012 - 1:09pm

"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."

(the above is a quote copy)

The point you were trying to make was to say Obama was playing around while a storm was going on.
If you would have read the article, you would discover that it was pre recorded BEFORE the storm.

Read it again, slowly:

Like you and the other Rombots, you're so anxious to bash Obama that you trip over yourselves.
Your reading comprehension and credibility have a very bad smell.


Pres. Obama's plan for "Mediscare":

Paying doctors and hospitals less for services without a reduction in service or quality of the benefits provided. LMAO!!!!

Maybe teachers should take a cut in pay; in the magical world of Obamanomics that ought to improve education right?

John Harville

@Copntango. Didn't you notice? Teachers ARE taking cuts in pay...thousands down to zero.
And how does one get a further reduction in nearly-nonexistent service or quality of the benefits provided.
Doctors have to visit nursing home patients every 30 days. Our last doctor visit in the nursing home lasted exactly 89 seconds... for which he billed medicare and our insurance $150.LMAO!!!!


@ Comrade Harville:

"Zero"? Teachers are working for nuthin'?

Guess that you shoulda went into medicine if you resent what he charged.

So who's sitting on Mr. Obama's independent advisory board which is gonna decide how much and for what they will reduce payments to healthcare providers?

So you like and want more centralized planning coming out of DC huh?



Oh Goody!

The WH released a photo of Mr. Obama in the Situation Room focusing on "Dear Leader's" handling of hurricane Sandy. Sigh.

Where's the photo and the WH update on what "Dear Leader" knew and now knows about the Benghazi "terrorist attack" from seven weeks ago?

Guess that photo just isn't "optimal" so close to the election huh?


The Big Dog's back

Ask darrel issa.


@Eriemom, I wonder if when 2000 dealerships and 100,000 people lost their jobs because Obozo took over GM and Chrysler and shut down dealerships on a party preference, do you think they will vote for Obozo!!!

John Harville

Goofis... are they any relation to those who lost jobs and pensions when Rmoney/Bain moved Delphi to China?
Please prove the "100,000"...

John Harville

It just horrifies most of you when the President IS Presidential while Romney runs off to collect food the Red Cross doesn't want at a 'non-political' rally and McCain uses the opportunity to trash the Administration on the handling of Ben-ben-ben-gazi-stan. Next up: Sarah Palin with more shucks, jiving about schtick. Yeah, we're so sorry McCain/Palin didn't win.
Simply, we have no need to know what the President knows/knew - it's vital that we not 'telegraph' to our foes what our plans are. It's vital that - unlike Brownie (who said the President reacted too quickly) and Bush (who flew over Katrina) and Romney who wants to privatize FEMA and calls disaster aid 'immoral' - it's vital that we have a President who IS presidential.