‘It’s like being the prettiest girl at the dance’: 2012 swing state stories

Yahoo! News
The Ticket

Katie and Chloe Cavinder got to meet Mitt and Ann Romney in Ohio. (Courtney Cavinder)
Katie and Chloe Cavinder got to meet Mitt and Ann Romney in Ohio. (Courtney Cavinder)

Leading up to Election Day, Yahoo News asked voters in eight swing states to share stories of what it's been like to live there in 2012. Now that Election Day has arrived, we look back on one story from each state.

Ohio

I feel very privileged to have had numerous opportunities to see the candidates.

In fact, we have met Mitt Romney three times. There are yard signs everywhere! We live in a very conservative area and I have seen very few Obama signs. In our neighborhood I have seen two Obama signs and about 20 Romney-Ryan signs.

[Romney] came to a call center in Terrace Park, Ohio, last October when he was just beginning his candidacy. I thought it was important to take the kids to see a presidential candidate. How often does that happen? He stopped to talk to our daughters, Chloe, 5, and Katie, 9. He knelt down and was incredibly personable and engaged them in an adorable conversation. He made a very good impression on us.

A few months later, he came back to Ohio to a company in Dayton. Our whole family went again, and once again he stopped to talk with Katie and Chloe. A few weeks ago we were thrilled to hear that he was coming to our town, Lebanon. … In order to have the best seats to see Mitt, we arrived in downtown Lebanon at 10:30 a.m. and were the first people in line. When he arrived around 5:45 p.m. we had the best seats!

Living here in Ohio has afforded my kids the opportunity to see our whole political process in action. I hope that no matter whom they decide to vote for when they get older, they understand the process and the importance of becoming involved in the issues that affect our country.

—Courtney Cavinder, Lebanon, Ohio, in an email to Yahoo News

Darnell Kreuzer’s teenagers with their Obama signs in Florida. (Darnell Kreuzer)
Darnell Kreuzer’s teenagers with their Obama signs in Florida. (Darnell Kreuzer)

Florida

All three [of my teenagers] have participated in the Obama for America campaign via sign waving, door-knocking and envelope stuffing.

At first I was a little hesitant to have them participate, as people can be very ugly if they are not for your candidate. The first time the kids sign-waved, a middle-aged woman pulled up to them and said, "You suck!" They were shocked, but laughed. I told them to smile and say, "God Bless You!" They were also surprised at how many people gave them the middle finger.

On the flip side, they were also thrilled to have the majority of people beep, wave and yell "Yeah Obama!" As Election Day grows closer in Florida, the tension grows with it. ... We feel strongly about our mission, and we love our president and support him, with all our hearts. The fruits of our labors were rewarded when we [and other volunteers] received a live conference call from President Obama.

[This week we went to] an early voting poll sign waving because we received a call--some of our signs had been de-faced. Even though we were exhausted from getting up early [to go to a] rally, we felt it was a sign-waving emergency. We immediately drove over and stayed for an hour and a half. … I'd say 85 percent of the people were giving us the "thumbs up" and beeping their car horns. One lady pulled up to us and said, "It's about time I saw you guys out here!"

—Darnell Kreuzer, Lake Mary, Fla., in an email to Yahoo News

New Hampshire

I moved here from California three years ago, so this is my first presidential election in New Hampshire.

A few weekends ago, I took my son, Milo (almost 3), to go canvassing in our town [for President Barack Obama]. When we knocked on doors, we found most people we met were supporting Obama. Milo enjoyed ringing the doorbells and exploring people's gardens. It's not unlike trick or treating, really.

As much as we found supporters, people were reluctant to volunteer or get involved in the campaign. I get it. I'm busy, too. Here in New Hampshire, we don't like to bother our neighbors. But when I did talk to my neighbors, even the ones who disagreed with me, I had a connection that I didn't have before.

I suppose it helps soften the antagonism when your 3-year-old sings "Vote Obama!" We'll be canvassing again soon.

—Sabina Chen, Pelham, N.H.

Romney supporters pose with campaign signs after a rally featuring Paul Ryan in Derry, N.H., on Sept. 29, 2012. (Luke N. Vargas, Political Courier Media)
Romney supporters pose with campaign signs after a rally featuring Paul Ryan in Derry, N.H., on Sept. 29, 2012. (Luke N. Vargas, Political Courier Media)

Iowa

It has been exciting, especially these last few months. It's like being the prettiest girl at the dance.

After the first televised debate, Obama made a few more stops in the Hawkeye State to give speeches. Like the percentages of bumper stickers on cars I've seen on the highway, the media coverage, ads, radio spots and lawn signs lean 80/20 for President Obama. …

To this 37-year-old graphic designer, it does feel as if the Republicans have written off Iowa. Perhaps they view it simply as a lost state going to Obama. The Democrats focus [on it] as if it's the only state in the country that can give votes. Bill Clinton is coming soon for a few speeches at the [state] Capitol. The support and attention is evident.

—Dante Cinder, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Obama supporters at the University of Denver, which hosted the first presidential debate. (Steve Hostetler)
Obama supporters at the University of Denver, which hosted the first presidential debate. (Steve Hostetler)

Colorado

In robocall-heavy Colorado, don't call me—maybe

I've never been so popular among the pre-recorded pitchmen. Previously, on average, [my phone rang with] one highly annoying call a day—those that start with that overly cheery "Hello!" But last week my popularity soared. By week's end, I was fielding four or five calls a day.

I live in a purple state—one neither red nor blue. We, as Coloradans, are undecided. Or so the news reports tell us. We're a swing state and the Democrats and Republicans couldn't love us more.

You might think a sane person would let the calls go to voicemail. But I can't. I have been laid off three times since 2010 by struggling companies. I'm looking for a job, and I can't miss a call that might be my next big thing. I only wish potential employers were as interested in me as Michelle, Mitt, Newt and Mr. Huckabee are. They've all called. The wonderful place I interviewed with on Tuesday hasn't. Yet.

So, I'm conflicted—which overly sincere recorded voice do I believe? Or do I believe any of them? I know they all want my vote; they've all told me so. Repeatedly. Honestly, if either side could find me a job, I'd be their biggest supporter. I'd make those stupid phone calls myself. Maybe I should call and ask.

—Kim Marie, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Obama supporter Katie Silva poses in front of Romney’s campaign bus in Reno, Nev. (Katie Silva)
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Obama supporter Katie Silva poses in front of Romney’s campaign bus in Reno, Nev. (Katie Silva)

Nevada

My husband is a Republican and supports the Romney ticket, while I support Obama.

He's out-of-state for a year and [I had thought of] not sending him the absentee ballot. ... And no, I would not do that. The only relief that I get is either visiting my daughter in California or with my girlfriends, who mostly feel the way that I do. We simply cannot understand how the Republican Party can tell us that they want government out of our lives and yet want the government to control what we, as women, do with our bodies, the most personal of choices to be made.

At a minimum I see a dozen television ads a day—and I usually only watch TV during the news. The phone calls are at least eight per day and range from the taped messages from candidates to surveys to polls and requests from parties for help. Does anyone ever even listen to a taped message from a candidate? Do they not have a life? Can we not go to the bathroom without being interrupted?? The mute button is my friend as is call screening.

I hate to admit it, but I'm looking forward to Nov. 7 when all I have to ignore is the pharmaceutical ads that tell me about the drugs that could potentially kill me.

—Sue Camp, Reno, Nev., in an email to Yahoo News

Virginia

As happened in the previous three elections, when I put a Republican presidential candidate sign on my property, it's vandalized.

I've learned that a way to reduce that vandalism is to line the edges of the sign with Vaseline, making its destruction a gooey, messy proposition. Sometimes vandals stop in mid-destruction, and I come home in the evening to a sign someone started to destroy but then stopped because their hands became a mess.

Since I clearly am making someone very upset, I of course decided that I need far more than one sign so I can get my point across even more clearly. I have asked for more signs, made more signs, and gotten more from neighbors. I am filling my yard. And lining them all with Vaseline.

—John Iekel, Falls Church, Va., in an email to Yahoo News

Jessica Turner of Raleigh, N.C., poses with the Romney sign outside her home. (Jim Turner)
Jessica Turner of Raleigh, N.C., poses with the Romney sign outside her home. (Jim Turner)

North Carolina

I go into a lot of houses in my job of dry cleaning carpets. … For the first time I can ever recall, I am seeing my customers are actually serious about [an] election.

No more do they try to out-promote the opposition candidate with a litany of talking points, as in past elections. [They use] a quiet voice and calm manner. They speak about the candidates in a conversational style, whereas in the past they would try to convince by boisterously emphasizing key points.

[While they] used to use a show of anger to convince, now it's a quiet plea. A tone of gravity has somehow fallen upon my clients. They never ask me who I will be voting for, they simply make the whispered, almost resigned statement that "people need to get out and vote."

— Charles Bright, Goldsboro, N.C., in an email to Yahoo News