It was our last day on the campaign trail, and the first thing my team and I noticed when we pulled into Cincinnati were long lines of people wrapped around city blocks. Temperatures were in the low 30s when the polls opened this morning, but that did not keep people from turning out and standing in long lines to cast their votes.
This was the first time I've personally witnessed this kind of turnout for a presidential campaign. As I spoke with people in line, including some who had been waiting more than two hours to cast their ballot, I realized that there was a sense of pride and urgency in the air. These people were not leaving until they were able to exercise their right to vote.
They had some help while waiting in line. Volunteers from around the country had come to keep people motivated (not that anyone needed motivation). A man who had driven from Atlanta with his 14-year-old daughter walked down the line and asked if anyone needed him to feed the parking meter so they wouldn't get ticketed while exercising their civic duty. Other volunteers distributed hot chocolate, water bottles and pizza.
Today's question was: What will be the biggest surprise to occur on Election Day? As you could imagine, answers varied, but people were eager to give their opinions. Several people told us it would surprise them if there were a landslide victory for either candidate. One unexpected response was from people who believed that the polls on TV and online were making the race appear much closer than it will actually turn out to be. There was also a young man who told me that he hopes people will be surprised by how many people do not choose either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. This young man said he felt that being able to choose anyone he wants is a major factor in why was waiting in line to vote.
Several people also emphasized the importance of voting regardless of their party affiliation. In addition, some told me there was no limit to the amount of time they were willing to wait to get the opportunity to vote.
Now tell us what you think. What will be the biggest surprise to occur on Election Day?