Monday, November 5, 2012

Nearly 28 percent of Carroll County’s 15,161 registered voters had cast ballots as of 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Carroll County Auditor’s Office reported that 41 percent (1,702) of the absentee ballots were cast or requested by Democrats, compared with 30 percent (1,268) for Republicans and 29 percent (1,227) for independents.

According to the this weekend’s Des Moines Register poll, 42 percent of likely voters in Iowa have already voted, and President Barack Obama leads GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 22 points among them.

“Iowa has always come through for President Obama, from his first primary caucus to his last general election ever,” said Jeremy Bird, Obama’s national field director. “On Tuesday, Iowa will come through again, and early vote is a major reason why we’ll win.”

If Carroll County matches its 70 percent voter turnout in the 2008 general election, that means 40 percent of the county electorate already has voted.

In an interview with The Daily Times Herald on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said the Obama campaign has an office in every county in Iowa with more than 250 people working in them.

“That’s what they have been setting up for the last two or three years to do, is to get these ballots,” Harkin said. “All I can tell you is we are way ahead of where we were four years ago, and to me, that breaks well for the Democrats. I think the momentum is on our side. I think the momentum is on Obama’s side in Iowa.”

In 2008, a year in which President Obama defeated U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Carroll County, 22 Romney said he would act to boost small business, designate China a currency manipulator and work to take full advantage of a mix of energy resources in the United States.

“Do you want four more years like the last four years, or do you want real change?” Romney asked.

With the right leadership the nation can come roaring back from economic woes, the Republican said.

“Unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession,” Romney said.

Introducing Romney, Gov. Terry Branstad said Americans can’t be certain how the president would use a second term.

“He spends his time blaming others and attacking Mitt Romney,” Branstad said, charging that Obama “has been the most divisive president we’ve had.”

Branstad said Iowa has generally favorable economic conditions compared to the nation as a whole. But that’s the result of Republican leadership in the Hawkeye State, not Obama, Branstad said.

“If Obama wants to take credit for the economy, let him do it in Illinois, but not Iowa,” Branstad said.

According to Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in September from 5.5 percent in August. The comparable rate for September 2011 was 5.9 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate for September also decreased by 0.3 percent, falling to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent in August, Workforce Development reports.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama plan to finish the campaign Monday night in Des Moines, hours after GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is scheduled to appear in the state’s capital city. Both the president and Romney campaigned in Dubuque on Saturday.