Challenge mounts for Trump as early voters back Clinton

Voting pattern in swing state of Ohio shows tycoon has alienated huge number of women

Passionate supporters of Donald Trump are standing by the US Republican presidential nominee despite the latest accusations over his treatment of women. Video: Reuters

 

If first-day turnout in early voting in the US presidential election in this Ohio suburb is a measure of enthusiasm, there will be long lines of people queuing to cast their ballot on November 8th.

Inside the Delaware County board of elections voting centre, 40 minutes north of state capital Columbus, director Karla Herron said that, near close of business on Wednesday, voting was double the level in 2012 and there had been a 15 per cent increase in requests for mail-in absentee ballots.

These are signs that voters are unlikely to sit out this polarising presidential election involving the two most unpopular candidates in generations.

Mexican heritage

The Irish Times Hillary Clinton

Marisa Rippey (42), an online retailer, voted next to her daughter Marisol Petry (16).

“I was a Hillary supporter anyways but I feel even more inclined to vote this time because of Trump,” she said. “My family is of Mexican heritage so his initial comments coming into the election were like, yeah, he’s out for me.”

“He is vulgar, rude. It’s making it hard for my own children to be able to watch the information on TV. They should be able to watch it,” said Stacy McCarthy (47), a school administrator after voting.

“I just think we will have a more civil society if Hillary is our president than Donald Trump, ” said Helen Watkins (60), who works in finance. “Even in these traditionally Republican areas there are a number of people that are not going to vote for Donald Trump.”

Long before the recent revelations that Trump kissed or groped women without their consent or the brags on the leaked tape about assaulting others, women voters had turned off here.

“I have found him to be a big turnoff even before he got into the race,” said Sarah (41), a City of Columbus worker who voted for Clinton and did not want to give her last name.

Erik Burgeson (48), a teacher who also voted for Clinton, says the schism between establishment Republicans and those voting for Trump puts woman suburbanites in these areas of swing states in a critical position. “Women are going to be our crucial vote this time around,” he said.

Battleground states

White HouseBarack ObamaMitt Romney

Clinton needs to narrow that gap here and in other suburban, traditionally Republican areas to offset Trump’s stronger support in blue-collar towns in eastern Ohio and rural areas.

“That’s the question of the election: can she make up the loss of working-class voters who may turn out in much greater numbers this time for Trump with college-educated voters who are more likely to vote?” said Paul Sracic, politics professor at Youngstown State University in eastern Ohio.

“So far it appears that she is doing better with these voters so the question is: will she do enough better? Are they really motivated?”

Turnout is paramount in this midwestern state. This explains why Clinton passed through Columbus drawing 18,500 people, thought to be her largest campaign rally to date, on Monday. It’s also why Bill Clinton is visiting Cincinnati and Columbus today for “vote early” public events at the same time that Barack Obama is stumping for her in Cleveland.

‘Terrible candidates’

Delaware County

“I am a Republican but I am not loving either candidate,” said Terri Lattimer (55) walking out of Polaris Fashion Place, an upmarket shopping centre in a northern suburb of Columbus.

“I wish there was a different Republican candidate to choose from.”

Brenda Burger (39), who has backed Democrats and Republicans, says she is leaning towards Clinton: “It is really tough because they are both terrible candidates but Trump is more dangerous.”

Jeanne Osterfeld (46), a school principal, says, slightly embarrassed, that she is backing Trump.

“I can’t stand Hillary Clinton,” she said. “I would rather not vote than vote for her and I am not thrilled with my choice but that’s all you got.”

Michelle Duffill (44), a mortgage underwriter and a Clinton voter, thinks Trump is “bat-s**t crazy” and believes his unpopularity will help Clinton run up the vote in suburban areas such as Delaware County. “Because he keeps shooting himself in the the foot,” she said.

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