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.




Thanks, I dont see the hoopla about a president who has been campaigning for the last 4 years and has neglected almost everything else. What do people expect out of him. To do his job? Come on, No one is suprised that he has neglected almost everything to campaign. Maybe he should have stayed in vegas he might get better odds.


I should have known that you wouldn't be reasonable.


HA! Come on, Joking is not permitted? Who cares if he was on the radio talking about Ipods? I have come to expect it out of him. He is the only president that i can think of that does night shows, The veiw, Radio broadcast and thinks they are Press confrences.


@ 4shizzle:

The 'key' sentence in my post:

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

Note the word: "Handlers."

The POTUS is and has always been a sock puppet.



@ contango

You are very amusing-- sooo self important without remedy.


Woohoo! The Oct. 31 independent Quinnipiac poll has Obama up 50% to 45% in Ohio. The Prez is also up in Wisconsin and Virginia.

In a related story, Romney's latest campaign ad, in which he pushes a blatant lie about Jeep moving jobs to China, was given a "Pants on Fire" rating (100% false) by the independent fact-checker Politifact. The vultures are beginning to circle...

Darwin's choice

Now more brazen than ever, with the fear of reprisal replaced with welfare/medical assistance etc.........




Obama 2012
nuff said

Darwin's choice

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

the office cat

Wondering how the moderators overlooked this?

Darwin's choice

Problematic isn't it?


Bet the news of Obama & Jersey's Gov. working together will hurt Romney.


If the best thing to happen to the Obama campaign is a hurricane, It isnt much to run on.


@ Randy_Marsh:

The states mostly affected were "blue" anyway. Little-to-no effect on the overall electoral results.

the office cat

oooops. wrong again Contango. Inability to vote could affect the 'popular vote' and give the President only his only-important electoral win but not the 'popular' win - a la Bush 2000. Then listen to you yelp. Bet you'll want an investigation there, too, huh? What WILL the Right do with that infernal SUPCO 2000 ruling?


@ the office cat:

Nonsense. "Obomney" will win - guaranteed.

Darwin's choice

Speaking of inability......how is the new budget Obama is working on coming? Three years of what.......?

the office cat

Marsh. Not the 'best' thing. But it certainly demonstrates the President's ability to set politics aside and work with a Republican who is one of his strongest critics.
Character tells. And in the last five days we were 'told' a lot about Mitt Romney's character. Did he think we wouldn't know his supporters spent $5,000 at Wal-Mart on food and supplies for his supporters to 'donate' to the Red Cross at his 'not political' rally?
And John McCain used a 'relief rally' to attack President Obama on the 'Libya Thing'. WAIT A MINUTE!!! Is Contango really John McCain?


Unless you look at the last 4 years of not being able to "Set aside" differences even on somthing so simple as a budget in a super majority.


LOL Office Cat - the funniest thing is that the Red Cross didn't even want his help and they typically don't accept food and clothing. What Romney did actually cost them more time and aggravation in this case. Similar to Ryan taking over a food kitchen to fake some photo ops. And that Romney supporting Governor actually said he really didn't want Romney there taking photos.
This DOES say something about the situation.


Even the 'liberal' Washington Post (WP)is beginning to ask questions surrounding the Benghazi "terrorist attack."

"Obama needs to come clean on Benghazi":



According to WP columnist David Ignatius:

"Officials" are preparing a "detailed, unclassified timeline of events" surrounding Benghazi and "that it may be released this week."


So far, the "official" WH story remains: Spontaneous demonstration caused by a video.

Does any thinking person other than an Obamasheeple still believe this manure?


the office cat

@Contango 43 Americans were killed at US embassies and consulates during the Bush Administration. Did you press for details on THOSE? Or are you REALLY just after THIS president?

the office cat

Have you read the contemporaneous reports of the demonstrations in Cairo and Tripoli over the video PRIOR to the attack at Ben-ben-ben-gazi-bechistan. The word went out to be aware of possible demonstrations in other cities. Now what will you do when the final report shows the 'terrorist cell' in BG was prepared and awaiting an opportunity?...that the attack was pre-planned but the timetable was fluid? That will be a government coverup, right?
43 Americans were killed in US foreign embassies during the Bush administration - most as yet unexplained. Does it seem your present outrage is a bit hypocritical?

Darwin's choice

Try, try, but the blame is still on your man.....

the office cat

What happened to the days of the WP doing its own investigative reporting? Oh yeah,...WP would need REPORTERS.

the office cat

case in point... "According to WP columnist David Ignatius..." opinions are like.... well you know the rest.


@ the office cat:

The media is trying to fill the WH news vacuum. So what's the "official" WH story on Benghazi today?


(The media is trying to fill the WH news vacuum)
Speaking of vacuums!