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.




(it's vital that we have a President who IS presidential.)

Correct, and our current president is not, does not make decisions well. He brings the trouble upon himself. Who tried to apologise to the terrorists? Make America look like nice guys and the bad guys will go home and play! Come on....


Your 2cents isn't worth 2 cents.
It's worth much less.

John Harville

2cents... well, we need a man who tells a crowd that Chrysler is moving their plants and jobs to China... then doubles down with TV and radio ads further promoting his lie.
We have a president who IS presidential -- just ask Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo and that other guy. And we will re-elect the PRESIDENT.


@ John Harville:

So what if Fiat moves Jeep production to China or to Italy; other than Sinophobic hysteria what's the difference?

"Presidental"? The guy's like an actor who only plays one on TV.

Good to see that you've bought into the cult of personality.


John, we have a president that has not mentioned China until the campaign! I lost a line of products to China by a 26 year customer under his leadership this year. 50% of my workforce gone!

The Big Dog's back

Probably outsourced by robme/bain.


How is this Obama's fault anyway? I'm sure he got up one morning and said - hey, I need to contact that company that 2cents uses and move them off to china so he will loose business. You have got to be kidding me. Obama hasn't mentioned China because he has no need to - it's Romney that actually OWNS factories in China and continues to bring up how bad they are. It's Romney that purchases things made in china for the campaign while Obama buys "Made in USA" for his campaign. Come on - stop trying to blame everything on Obama. I'm truly surprised that Romney didn't try to blame this hurricane on him like he did the one in the Gulf during the RNC. I remember that bunch of crap.

John Harville

2c3nts... now the President is responsible for the Hurricane? There is no where you won't go to hate the Black man in the White House built by Black slaves.


@ John Harville:

Yea, it's gotta be his skin color, 'cause his politics couldn't have anything to do with some not supporting his socialistic agenda could it?

The Big Dog's back

I wish his agenda was Socialistic.


LOL, where did racisim come in here, I missed that!!!!!!!!

The Big Dog's back

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


And theres Dog, "Code words"? Please. Your the biggest racist on here hating the "Affluent white" guys remember? Try to come up with a honest argument.


These are comical comments, sad but commical. I share breakfast with a friend almost every morning who is black. I better emenid him to sit at the back of the table. You guys are racist for sure, so sad!

the office cat

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

the office cat

+Was Bush responsible for Katrina? No.
+Sununu: Powell endorsed Obama because of his race.
+Tee-shirt at Romney rally: "Get the Black man out of the White House"
+43 Americans killed in foreign embassies and consulates - under Bush - and no one raised an eyebrow.
+Trump insists Obama used 'foreign student status' to get into college
+Trump insists Obama is an 'affirmative action" student.
Of course you missed it. Couldn't see around the 'log' in your eye.


Pres. Obama, Sept. 11, 2012 (morning):

“Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated, and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again,”

Well obviously it would appear that the Benghazi "terrorist attack" may have proven that al-Qaeda is alive and well and operating in Libya.

Thank goodness for Sandy so that Mr. Obama can 'appear' presidential and play President for a while again.


John Harville

Al Quaeda's group withdrew its 'responsibility' statement.
One small terrorist group does not equal a rejuvenation. When bin Laden was alive AQ would have jumped out with a video boasting about their 'conquest'.
And you're giving us blogs as support for your Obama-hating position?


@ John Harville:

"Al Quaeda's group withdrew its 'responsibility' statement"?

And you know this how? Is this the "official" WH position or did you learn it from the media?

The link is merely ABC's report of Obama statement. Why do you hate ABC News?

The Big Dog's back

darrel issa outed all of our sources in Libya. Dead men don't speak very well. You should be outraged over that.


Mr, Uh Duh Eh Obozo is uh certainly duh presidential eh duh and uh cetainly we uh americans duh appreciate eh him!!!


Nooo. One more time: Romney has had NOTHING to do with any of Bains business decisions since 1998!!! Got that?? And did you know that the current Bain CEO is a major Obama bundler?? Bain today is more closely aligned with Obama than with Romney.

The Big Dog's back

Awwwhl shucks goof, bain is more aligned with Obama? Ahahahahahahaha. Up is down, black is white, night is day.

the office cat

Goofus. Ya know ya gotta provide proof for the Obama bundler stuff.
Even Romney admitted he was involved with Bain into 2000 before he 'retroactively retired'.
Ooh, and there IS that $8.5 million share he has in the Freeport, Il company Bain is shifting to China - at great profits for all its shareholders like Romney....


@ goofus:

It continues to amaze me that the Obamabots cannot see the irony of giant public employee pension trust like Calpers and Calstrs investing billions of dollars in hedge funds and private equity firms like Bain Capital.

Also, those same public employee trust funds invest billions of assets in foreign companies that "stole our jobs."

Sad that such a steep level of ignorance regarding economics and finance is found in the Obamasheeple.


Rumors are flying and no one is saying anything BUT http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/poli... Type in his name and General Ham, Interesting reading to say the least. No wonder they put off the benghazi congressional testimony till after the election, This could get interesting.


Hey porch puppy, do some research instead of your insulting remarks



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.


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