Ohio's Women, Independents in Super Tuesday Crosshairs

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I'm a Leo -- I should love all this attention being lavished on Ohio because of its Super Tuesday swing state status. Where to begin?

The Polls

One poll out yesterday shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney pulling ahead of former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, while nearly all others show a tightening of the race, if not a dead heat. Coming off of a narrow win in Michigan, which also ran counter to some polls, Romney has racked up a number of endorsements in just the last 72 hours while also making some major gaffes while in the Buckeye State. Which will control? I can only tell you that my prediction is that Romney gets the win, if only because of low voter turnout. My sense is that independents in particular, who, like all Ohioans, can pull whichever ballot they want in Ohio's primary, will go Romney, or go home.

The Women

A lack of enthusiasm among Democratic female voters in November 2010 anecdotally got blamed for the statewide offices turning blue to red. There's no reason to think that this can't happen in the GOP primary. Given the margin by which Rick Santorum lost to Mitt Romney, some opinionators believe that the few-percentage edge Romney had with women made all the difference. Given Romney's Blunt amendment gaffe last week (he was against the measure to allow all employers to object to any health care benefit if they had a moral objection to it, before he was for it).

Rick Santorum Ohio
March 5, 2012 - Westerville, OH, USA - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum speaks to a crowd gathered at the American Legion in Westerville, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012. (Credit Image: © Shari Lewis/Columbus Dispatch/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)

The Weather

Weather.com is showing that it will be a relatively warm, sunny day throughout much of Ohio tomorrow - mid-40s, no snow. In other words, weather won't be much of a factor, and that itself is a factor.

The Independents

Ohio is known as a semi-open primary because we don't register with the state as Democrats or Republicans. We pull whatever ballots we want (and no longer have to sign an affidavit to switch from what we've previously pulled). However, the parties definitely identify voters by the ballot you last pulled during a primary and this method is what leads to the belief that about one-third of Ohio's voters are independents - they never pull a primary ballot so you don't necessarily know which way they will go when they do vote. The issue for Ohio primaries is whether a candidate can draw out those independents in higher numbers for him or her, than the opponent and thereby get above the known-quantity of their base. When enthusiasm is lacking -- or disgust is high -- that's a tough sell for even the most die-hard supporters, let alone swingy independents. This is part of why the polls aren't settled on what will happen here.

And neither am I -- though I'm fairly confident the winner will be Romney.

Last note: Given that there's no affidavit to sign if you want to pull a party ballot different from the last time, my newly registered 18-year-old is trying to decide what to do with his very first vote. I've advised him that there are so many other races in our county at the primary level that he'd be abdicating his ability to select in those races for the party he truly wants to influence if he sacrificed pulling a Democratic ballot for pulling a Republican ballot just to play mischief. But I also told him that he was 18 and he would have to deal with whatever consequences flow. I told him to keep Romney's vote for Paul Tsongas in mind. You never know!

Best place to follow the news today:

The Twitter list Ohio Hacks and Flacks

Also the Twitter list Ohio Politics

For results: Ohio Secretary of State

Jill Writes Like She Talks

In The Arena: Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike City Council Member

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