Obama, Romney battle to win Ohio State campus, Ohio
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 4, 2012 22:11
With only a day until Election Day, some students have noticed the presence of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign surfacing the Oval.
The Ohio State College Democrats have been out on the Oval since the first few weeks of classes supporting President Barack Obama’s campaign and are known by some for their large blue tent in the center of campus.
Vytautas Aukstuolis, a second-year in public affairs and member of OSU College Democrats, said he was actually pleased when he recently saw Romney supporters out there with them.
“To be honest, I’m glad that there’s at least both sides present because I think students should see both,” Aukstuolis said.
While there have been independent and non-OSU groups on campus campaigning for Romney, OSU College Republicans weren’t around as much. Sam Zuidema, a second-year in history and political science and member of OSU College Republicans, said that the College Republicans’ campaigning takes place mostly off campus.
“When we’re out on the Oval, we’re not the Romney campaign, we’re College Republicans,” Zuidema said. “We’ve been out there periodically for a long time.”
The Romney strategy, as Zuidema called it, is a nationwide campaign tactic that associations supporting Romney can follow. College Republicans chose to continue with this strategy which requires them to not focus completely on Ohio State’s campus, but also outreach in neighboring areas.
Rebecca Davis, a second-year in chemistry, said people will notice and remember Romney supporters a lot more because of their sudden appearance. She said since the Obama tent has been out since the first week of school, it doesn’t become as memorable in students’ minds, even though she thinks Obama will prevail with campus voters.
“I think they’re trying to make a bold statement right at the end,” Davis said. “I don’t know who is going to win Ohio, but I think Obama won OSU’s campus.”
The Knickerbocker’s, a family from Beaver Creek, Ohio, were on the Oval last Friday with friends handing out chocolate bars to Romney supporters. They said their son, Bret Knickerbocker, a fourth-year in finance at OSU, he hadn’t seen a lot of Romney support on campus.
“I think we (Republicans) feel outnumbered and we feel like it’s a lost battle,” Bret Knickerbocker said. “College campuses are so liberal, but I don’t think there’s challenges voting Republican.”
Bret Knickerbocker’s father, Tom Knickerbocker, said that the feedback from their day of campaigning was pretty positive. He said there were a lot of drive-by jabs from students but they wouldn’t stop to talk or were, as he put it, “embarrassed by their choice” to vote for Obama.
Bret Knickerbocker said he respects what the Obama supporters and College Democrats are doing in terms of campaigning, but he doesn’t agree with their fiscal beliefs.
“We have a responsibility to be financially responsible for future generations,” Bret Knickerbocker said. “I respect Democrats. I think they are a lot about helping needy people but don’t like the way they’re going about it.”
Aukstuolis said College Democrats was also getting very positive feedback at its Obama-Biden tent, with many students saying they are excited about the campaign. Aukstuolis said that he, along with others working on the campaign, are voting for Obama because they want the best for others, not themselves.
“It’s not about me,” Aukstuolis said. “My ideology aligns with Obama. Under economic theory, what’s he’s doing makes sense.”
Aukstuolis, Zuidema and Bret Knickerbocker all said they couldn’t tell who is winning Ohio or the election, but said they know Ohio is going to make the biggest impact Tuesday.
According to The Dispatch Poll in The Columbus Dispatch, the numbers are still close between Obama and Romney. As of Nov. 4, Obama is leading Ohio 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent with a 2.2 percent margin of error.
“Many say (the election) is in Obama’s favor,” Zuidema said. “Romney absolutely has a chance and the (Romney) campaign is doing a great job.”
Bret Knickerbocker said he is feeling much better about the Romney campaign than he did earlier in the campaign process, and perdicts Romney will win votes in the suburbs over cities like Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Both Romney and Obama are expected to be in Columbus Monday on the final day of campaigning. Obama is expected to make an appearance with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen at Nationwide Arena Monday afternoon, and Romney is expected to make an appearance at Landmark Aviation Monday evening.