Lake County, Ohio has become a good bellwether of how the swing state will vote, and thus, is also a fairly good predictor of presidential elections. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Lake County, Ohio has most closely matched the swing state's voting patterns in nearly every election since 1960. Seven voters coming from different backgrounds, and bringing very different concerns to the table, discuss what's swaying them.
Marisa Cornachio, mom and prosecuting attorney, thinks Fox News gets a bad rap. She's coming down on the conservative side of things because she worries about her parents, both of whom are small business owners. She says they've been hurting because of the Affordable Care Act. "The premiums alone have gone up 150 percent" she says. "Those are real numbers that effect both my mother and father."
Kim Lobe, a working mom, says that with two sons who are recent college graduates, she's very worried about the job market.
Joe Tirpak, an HR management consultant, agrees. "I think it's a tragedy when kids graduate from college and can't get a job," he says. "My daughter graduated in '83, and she still has friends who are still paying off their college loans."
Veronica Dahlberg, an activist for immigrant rights, is most worried about the Hispanic community. "When I look at things through the prism of my own personal family, but also my connection with the Hispanic community, which I meet with weekly, I like to focus on the down to earth, what is happening. And it's not good."
Al Jones, a contractor and deacon at St. John's Baptist Church, is also concerned about immigration issues. "I think the American public believes that the Latinos, the Hispanic community, are getting a free ride," he says. He points out that undocumented immigrants "pay the same taxes as everybody else, but after that, they cannot get unemployment, they cannot get any of their taxes back. It's done for." Jones thinks there needs to be a better path to the United States
For Kiarra Jones, a college student at Lake Erie College who identifies as part of the LGBT community, her greatest concern is her rights. "I have no problem with people not believing in same-sex marriage," she says, "But where you want to ban it across the board? That's where I have a problem."
John Rampe, a small business owner, also shares his views. As things stand, at least within our test group, it looks like Romney has Lake County in the bag. But this conversation will continue over the next few days, and it might have surprising outcomes for our bellwether voters.