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November 6, 2012

Local officials expect big turnout

Tight White House race points to packed polls


State University College at Oneonta political science professor Gina Keel also said Romney’s strength in areas with large numbers of GOP voters will help boost Republican candidates in those areas.

“Schreibman’s got an uphill battle where I am,” said Keel, a Democrat who lives in Sidney. “It’s Gibson country down our way.”

Nationally, said Keel, citing polling data, Obama appears to have a clear advantage.

“I think we’ll be celebrating an Obama win on Wednesday,” she said.

The sophisticated techniques used in the latest forms of polling have made political surveys more accurate, she said, though she doesn’t believe that better forecasting will drive down voter participation.

“I worry more about voter polarization and how it affects governing,” said Keel, noting partisan politics has become increasingly divisive, contributing to legislative gridlock.

Of those interviewed for this story, Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell was the only one who predicted a slight drop in local voter turnout from the participation level in the 2008 general election, when Obama won handily over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

According to the 2008 voting data kept by the Otsego County Board of Elections, 26,122 voters cast a ballot for one of the presidential candidates.

“I get the sense from people on both ides of the aisle that there is a little less enthusiasm,” said Crowell, a Democrat. “So I expect turnout to be slightly lower.”

Crowell said he continues to support Obama, noting the president “got dealt a tough hand of cards” because of the national economic downturn.

“Foreign relations, in my view, is the only thing the president has substantive scope to make a big impact with,” he said. “I support the president for the foreign policy decisions he has made.”

Begging to differ was Otsego County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross. She said she has spoken with many voters who are unhappy with Obama’s handling of economic issues. “People want change,” she said.

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