Republicans point to early vote gains in Ohio
October 18th, 2012
04:11 PM ET
6 years ago

Republicans point to early vote gains in Ohio

Middleburg Heights, Ohio (CNN) - They got smoked in the early voting game in 2008, but this time around Republicans are closing the gap with Democrats.

Most observers here expect the early vote to tilt toward President Barack Obama, as it did in 2008. The Obama campaign has worked overtime to get their supporters to vote early and successfully sued the Ohio secretary of state to keep early voting locations open through the weekend preceding Election Day.

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Since early and absentee voting began on October 2, more than 1.4 million Ohio voters have voted or requested an absentee ballot. Almost a third of Ohio voted early in 2008, and Democrats expect that number to be even higher in 2012.

But Republicans have polished their early vote operation since 2008.

Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22% - a dismal 20-point deficit that contributed to Sen. John McCain's defeat in Ohio.

Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29%.

Republicans are outperforming their voter registration in several of the state's biggest counties.

For instance, through Wednesday in Cuyahoga County, the largest county in the state and home to Democrat-heavy Cleveland, nearly a quarter million absentee ballots have been requested and some 80,000 have been returned. Those numbers strongly favor Democrats: 47,538 to 16,720 for Republicans. About 15,000 listed no party affiliation.

In Cuyahoga, Republicans only make up about 12% of registered voters. Ballot numbers through Tuesday of this week, however, signal that almost 22% of early voters in Cuyahoga are Republican.

Franklin County - which encompasses Columbus - trails Cuyahoga in absentee ballot requests but leads the state in the number of early in-person voters, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Registered Democrats voting early outnumbered Republicans by a 4-1 margin, the paper reported Thursday.

GOP officials, though, say their absentee and in-person voting turnout in Franklin is coming along nicely. Republicans account for just 16.5% of registered voters in the county, but make up 28.6% of early voting activity so far.

Early vote numbers in key counties like Lucas, Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren tell a similar story.

Additionally, a Republican National Committee source told CNN that among early voters not identifying with any party, RNC modeling has tagged 30.5% as Romney supporters and 24.9% as Obama supporters.

If correct, that gives the GOP a 5.6-point edge among unaffiliated early and absentee voters.

Ohio Democrats wave off the Republican boasting, and not without good reason.

Voters in Ohio do not register by party in traditional fashion. Instead, voters are only identified as Republican or Democrat based on their participation in a primary, making it difficult to know just where early vote sympathies lie.

Republicans had a competitive presidential primary earlier this year. Democrats did not. Is it possible someone that a Democrat in Toledo registered as a Republican to vote for Romney over Rick Santorum last March, but is now supporting Obama? Absolutely. But this hypothetical Obama supporter's absentee ballot would be marked Republican.

Recent public polls show Obama has a double-digit lead among early voters, and data shared by the Obama campaign reveals residents of precincts Obama won in 2008 are participating in early voting at a greater clip than those from precincts McCain won.

The bottom line: Few in either party question the Obama campaign's sophisticated ground game and most expect Democrats to bank more votes before Election Day. But Republicans have vastly improved their turnout effort in Ohio from the dog days of October 2008.

Filed under: 2012 • Ohio
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    pretty simple to explain... most democrats have plenty of time on their hands since they don't work. republicans have to get to work in order to support them. they will vote on election day, don't worry.

    October 18, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Dems still winning and I know a LOT of rethugs who will NOT vote for the twit starting with my husband.
    Nice try CNN! Just what we Democrats need to get out but*s off our chairs and go vote for our future.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 18, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Jim

    "As president, I will create 12 million new jobs," – Mitt Romney, October 16. "The government doesn't create jobs," – Mitt Romney, October 16.

    October 18, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. ta111

    i'm here in Ohio and obama is toast. Obama needs at least a 15% absentee advantage going in to Nov 6 because the Republicans will really come out on election day. Did you know that McCain received more election day votes than obama in Ohio? Right now it looks like Romney by 4% here in Ohio.

    October 18, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    The ROmney/Ryan wave is sweeping the country... Ohio will also be swept up by Romney/Ryan. Four more years of Obama failure is not an option.

    October 18, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Tim

    Ohio doesn't want to return to the failed policies of BUSH... it will go blue

    October 18, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    How do you like that? Romney is going to win Ohio? Don't think so, but keep the Romney dream going. It'll make the Romney loss that much sweeter on November 6th.

    October 18, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ohioans for Obama turn out the vote!!
    Obama 2012.

    October 18, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Observer

    Is it me or is CNN tilting to the right? The headline does not match the story?? Democrats are leading. Or?

    October 18, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney has stooped so low until he's using intimidation against voters if they don't vote for him. Well as a native of Ohio whose father and brothers worked and retired in the steel mill, we don't take well to threats and intimidation, that's the quickest way to get run out of Ohio. Bush put Ohioians in soup lines, never again, never again. we will never forget.

    October 18, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Elizabeth

    So, republicans are still getting beat by seven percentage points in early voting and they are bragging about that. Talk about spin baby spin.

    October 18, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Expat American

    The Republicans are going to try hard to steal this election; in Ohio and in all the other swing states. They can’t be trusted.

    October 18, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. chilly g

    mitt, you are going to loose and the only peoples you care about is the one in your church.

    October 18, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Namedd

    Republicans will show up in large numbers election day

    October 18, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. bearced

    Are the republicans cheating in Ohio again? I am an independant and cannot understand why anyone would vote for the most untrustworthy candidate since Nixon!

    October 18, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sure are a lot of crazy polls lately chock full of crazy internals weighing everything upside down.

    October 18, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Begging

    Please get this right Ohio! We need Romney in office or the entire country will be out of work soon! Obama has failed and was barely experienced enough to be a 1 term Senator. Mitt Romney is a successful business man AND has actually run state government before! We need a real leader instead of someone just looking for fame of position! Please vote Romeny for the sake of the rest of us!!!

    October 18, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Mark

    Ohio is suppressing the vote even though the court said NO. Ohio Tea Party have put up bill boards threaten felon action for people voting. They are running these Bill Boards in 8 states now. It is mis information and threatening voters with legal action. Also they are telling people by mail that they must have a voter ID, The courts overturned that too. Republicans are running the nasty campaign to win. They can only win by LIES and suppressing the votes. Where is our rights, our Constiitution.

    October 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Romney cares less

    OBAMA 2012! Forward not back to the Dark Ages!

    October 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Yea, good luck repubs. Obama's still up by a couple points even with your so called "bump" and your so called voter-id law got tossed by the courts. Ohio's gonna be blue once more.

    October 18, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. cliff

    HUffington did an article on this as well and Ohio early voting heavily favors Obama. Those numbers in Republican turnout are not telling the story of Dem turnout. For instance CNN listed 7 counties with Republican numbers but no Dem numbers to compare. Huffington did LOL and Dem early voting was huge and favored Obama 3 to 1. Leave it to CNN to make that appear close too. CNN the new Fox News to get ratings.

    October 18, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. California Gary

    Yeah, he ran a state government before........aren't you even a little bit curious why he didn't run for a second term? Do you wonder why the state that he led is solidly behind his opponent? You should get answers to these questions before touting his "state government" experience as a reason to elect him.

    October 18, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Thomas

    @truth hurts
    The ROmney/Ryan wave is sweeping the country... Ohio will also be swept up by Romney/Ryan. Four more years of Obama failure is not an option.


    The ROmney/Ryan wave is sweeping the country ?

    Dream on into Denial !

    Romney = GW Bush

    October 18, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    But here is the rub, if we can say Romney is doing better, a lot better than 2008, then it logical to assume that any poll showing Obama up b more than 4.5% should be dismissed. People don't remember but Ohio trailed the national polling average by two points, which is to say despite the Obama ground game advantage, when the votes were counted Obama did worse in Ohio than nationally. Well the National polls today have Romney ahead, Gallup by 7, Rasmussen by 2, ok Investors Daily has Obama up 2 but they are using a the same Partisan Sample (2008 +7 D) so if you knock that down to size they would likely be where Rasmussen is. Mark it down Obama is not winning Ohio and he is not going to win re-election!

    October 18, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Ancient Texan

    We have a choice between a good, honest, cariing compassionate businessman that knows how to run a business and create jobs and a Chicago street thug that is interested only in his personal power grab and the adoration from the fans that think of him as a Rock Star.

    October 18, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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