Romney takes a lead in Ohio
Jason Gloeckner, of Galena, Ohio, never told his wife, Jean, that he voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Never, that is, until a few days ago, when I asked as we waited for Mitt Romney to appear at a rally outside a Columbus-area steel-processing company.
"Last time I voted for Obama," Gloeckner told me.
"You did?" said Jean, standing nearby, a look of astonishment on her face.
"Whoa!" said their friend J.P. Valiulis, who had joined them in waiting for Romney. "The truth comes out."
"He was a good talker!" said Jason, trying to justify his vote for Obama.
I asked Jean whether she knew her husband had voted for the Democrat. "No!" she said. "We're a house divided now."
Jason admits he didn't pay much attention to politics four years ago. Since then, though, he's been repeatedly disappointed by Obama. He was leaning toward Romney but still undecided until the first debate in early October. That did it; like his wife, Jason is all in for Romney now.
Gloeckner has joined what appears to be a growing number of Ohio voters moving toward a vote for the Republican ticket. On Monday, pollster Scott Rasmussen released a new survey showing Romney leading Obama in Ohio 50 percent to 48 percent -- the first poll to show the challenger in front. Over the weekend, a poll done for Ohio's top newspapers showed the race dead even, with both candidates at 49 percent.
Of course, many polls have shown Obama with a slight lead in Ohio, but the newer surveys suggesting a tightening race have Romney forces confident that something is going on in the state. On Monday morning, the campaign sent out a new strategy memo from Scott Jennings, the Ohio campaign director, that used the word "momentum" six times. Team Romney sees it everywhere in Ohio: polls, endorsements, early voting.
And in the people coming to Romney's rallies. Jennings attended the rally at the steel-processing company, and as we talked while waiting for Romney to speak, a woman came over. "I'm taking it very, very personally that it's going to come down to the state I live in," the woman, Regina Gardner, of Columbus, said. "I'm doing a lot of volunteer work, I'm helping to get out the vote, I'm knocking on doors, I'm calling people, I'm going to be a poll watcher on Election Day. I'm trying to get my friends to realize, you can't just complain; you've got to do more."
...Romney is starting to do better with independents and he is also getting some Democrat converts. The Republicans seem to have the energy on the ground right now in Ohio.