People are ready to vote. They’re very, very ready to vote.
People are tired of debates and talking points. They’ve been absolutely inundated here in Independence, Ohio, over the last 18 months. You can actually viscerally feel their exhaustion from this election cycle. One Ohioan told me, “Think about how tired you are of these elections. Then multiply that by all that is holy.”
As a consequence, I found that an effective first line at doorsteps to break the ice was “two more days and we’re all going to be gone.” At least it would momentarily take them off their guard.
But only for a moment. People that you sense are normally very patient and gentle are a bit hypersensitive. That being said, people were generally receptive to brief conversations and Obama supporters were in good spirits.
Ohioans do care a lot about the election. They embrace their important role in the decision and take the election very seriously. Apathetic people were hard to find.
Obama supporters were informed about polling station locations. Many indicated they had voted early (although they may have been trying to get me off their doorstep). Some complained of extremely long lines at early voting polls over the last couple days. But others enjoyed performances by Stevie Wonder and Jack Black as they waited in line.
The Obama campaign’s push for early voting seems to have done fairly well, but most voters are waiting for the big day — as we all are.
As bizarre as it is to think that Ohio is likely going to choose our next World Leader, it’s comforting that the state's landscape appears to be so diverse – in terms of ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status and every other way you can divide humans demographically. In fact, Ohio does seem to represent itself as a microcosm of America.
For those fearful about the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Ohio, no need to be concerned – at least from where we stood. Never have I been so relieved by forty-degree weather. It’s been dry and windless. There’s no reason to believe weather will negatively affect turnout.
At the Office
The Obama campaign never ceases to impress. Their ground game is extremely well organized and there are volunteers aplenty. I was told that the Obama campaign had knocked on one million Ohioan doors today. I can believe it.
There is a bit of a buzz going on about the work of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who passed an order allegedly contrary to the district court’s recent ruling.
However, feelings are mostly optimistic. When a noticeable gap emerged between national polls (showing Romney up 1-3 points) and swing state polls (showing Obama up 2-4 in most states), many wondered whether national polls would eventually follow the lead of swing state polls or vice versa.
It seems that the former has happened, as national polls have finally budged in favor of President Obama.
To be blunt, Democrats smell blood in the water in Ohio. Whether or not that’s overly optimistic, it’s the feeling on the ground. More to come.
For real-time results of the presidential election from Ohio, see here.
Kipp Mueller has led a large group of Columbia Law students to Independence, Ohio, to canvass and protect voters on Election Day. Kipp is a second-year law student and worked on the first Obama campaign in Nevada.