Obama supporter Katie Silva poses in front of Mitt Romney’s campaign bus in Reno, Nev. (Katie Silva)
As Election Day approaches, Yahoo News has asked voters in swing states to share what it's like being in the thick of things as President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney smother them with attention. This week, we look at Colorado and Nevada, the only two states west of Iowa where the candidates are campaigning. In their own words and photos, here are some excerpts from voters on the ground in those key states. Live in a swing state and want to share your story? Here's how.
They talk as if they know what they're talking about. Apparently my son, responding to a father who takes bites out of his doughnuts and then claims, "That's your tax," is preaching against Barack Obama on the playground. I received an email from a friend and Obama supporter who said her sons are "refusing to vote for Obama" because "someone" at school told them Obama will tax their parents "and then they won't be able to afford to buy you BeyBlades or SkyLanders or Puffles anymore."
Wow. Third-grade politics are tough. It's all about the toys.
My friend knows about the doughnut tax at our house. She easily deduced the culprit.
Another friend on the other end of the political spectrum had the opportunity to shake Mitt Romney's hand. She let our boys shake her hand only a few hours after he had. What excited them most was the fact that right before Romney shook her hand, he shook John Elway's. The third-grader, a huge football fan, went to school the next day and basically boasted that through the transitive property of handshakes he had high-fived the former quarterback.
—J Kelly, Denver, Colo.
I've never been so popular among the pre-recorded pitchmen. Previously, on average, [my phone rang with] one highly annoying call a day—those that start with that overly cheery "Hello!" But last week my popularity soared. By week's end, I was fielding four or five calls a day
I live in a purple state—one neither red nor blue. We, as Coloradans, are undecided. Or so the news reports tell us. We're a swing state and the Democrats and Republicans couldn't love us more.
You might think a sane person would let the calls go to voicemail. But I can't. I have been laid off three times since 2010 by struggling companies. I'm looking for a job, and I can't miss a call that might be my next big thing. I only wish potential employers were as interested in me as Michelle, Mitt, Newt and Mr. Huckabee are. They've all called. The wonderful place I interviewed with on Tuesday hasn't. Yet.
So, I'm conflicted—which overly sincere recorded voice do I believe? Or do I believe any of them? I know they all want my vote; they've all told me so. Repeatedly. Honestly, if either side could find me a job, I'd be their biggest supporter. I'd make those stupid phone calls myself. Maybe I should call and ask.
—Kim Marie, Colorado Springs, Colo.
'My husband is a Republican and supports the Romney ticket, while I support Obama.'
He's out-of-state for a year and [I had thought of] not sending him the absentee ballot. ... And no, I would not do that. The only relief that I get is either visiting my daughter in California or with my girlfriends, who mostly feel the way that I do. We simply cannot understand how the Republican Party can tell us that they want government out of our lives and yet want the government to control what we, as women, do with our bodies, the most personal of choices to be made.
At a minimum I see a dozen television ads a day—and I usually only watch TV during the news. The phone calls are at least eight per day and range from the taped messages from candidates to surveys to polls and requests from parties for help. Does anyone ever even listen to a taped message from a candidate? Do they not have a life? Can we not go to the bathroom without being interrupted?? The mute button is my friend as is call screening.
I hate to admit it, but I'm looking forward to Nov. 7 when all I have to ignore is the pharmaceutical ads that tell me about the drugs that could potentially kill me.
—Sue Camp, 65, Reno, Nev., in an email to Yahoo News
Not only am I bombarded by the numerous television commercials, but I'm living in one of the largest communities in Nevada; it seems the candidates are flying in at least once a week. If it's not the candidate, it's one of their surrogates, such as their running mate or their wife.
Then there are the phone calls. We receive one or two calls a day from both parties. Thank goodness for caller ID. And thank goodness it's coming to an end. It seems like this campaigning has been going on since Barack Obama was sworn in.
Now think about this: If President Obama wins, both parties will start their campaigns to pick their candidate for the 2016 election almost immediately after January. But if Obama loses, then it will just be the Democrats trying to pick a candidate for the next election. At 60-years-old and retired, I don't want to be doubled down on, so I have another reason to vote for Romney.
—Arlene Chase, Reno, Nev.
Alas, I've become a political junkie. Worse yet, I've been identified as an independent voter in a swing state. That means I get bombarded on a daily—no, make that an hourly—basis by both Democratic and Republican campaigns trying to woo me. Unlike some who claim to be an independent just so they can go out in mixed company without fear of offending others, I truly am an independent and undecided on Obama vs. Romney.
On the local level, I've already locked in on several candidates, not necessarily because they are outstanding candidates, but because their opponents are either clueless or are certifiable nut jobs, in my humble opinion.
In some ways, I envy my friends and neighbors who are staunch Democrats or Republicans. For them, life is easy and uncomplicated, even in a swing state. They'll just "vote the ticket" and be done with it.
But me? No, I have to be open-minded. And so, I watch every commercial and read every flier geared toward my swing vote. I even answer most telephone surveys. Then I read the opinion-editorial columns in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and several others via the Web. I tune in to Fox News and MSNBC to get more dueling opinions and then finally I go fact-checking on Politifact.com and Factcheck.org to make the most informed decision.
It's mid-October and soon I'll get my life back. But for now, don't call this independent. She's busy.
—Sandy James, Grand Junction, Colo.