POLITICS
07/25/2012 08:03 pm ET Updated Jul 25, 2012

Ohio Women Disappointed With Obama, Distrustful Of Romney

COLUMBUS, Ohio –- At a picnic table on the first day of the Ohio State Fair Wednesday, the daily political melee on Twitter, TV and in the inboxes of the political elite was distant and irrelevant.

Bain Capital … Obama's "you didn't build that" comment … tax returns.

Whatever.

Voters here said they just were just sick of it all.

"We're at a point where it doesn't matter who you vote for, you're still losing," said Misty Adair, 43, who sat at a picnic table while her 12-year old daughter roamed the rides.

Adair, an office manager for Time Warner, said she had not yet tuned in to the presidential election. But she said she has been turned off by the little she's seen of a race that is quickly becoming a race to the bottom, as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and their respective campaigns throw roundhouse punches at one another day after day.

"They bring up all this dirt and I don't care," she said. "I just want to know, can you fix this country?"

Adair was typical of the women who spoke with The Huffington Post. In general, they expressed disappointment in Obama, but were distrustful of Romney. And they were disgusted with the political process.

Romney may have a chance to win them over, since he is less well known, but he is heading toward the Republican convention a month from now with a damaged public image that requires extensive repair.

Columbus is ground zero in the 2012 election, the "swingiest" part of a crucial battleground state. And women voters, particularly white women, are considered by both campaigns to be the demographic most undecided and most up for grabs.

Obama enjoys a significant lead over Romney with woman voters in Ohio, according to recent polling. Democrats think this is due in part to their attacks on Romney's career in private equity at Bain Capital.

In another corner of the fair, Beth Trout, 42, had a sunnier disposition than Adair but was equally ambivalent about the presidential election.

"I'm not feeling a big draw to either candidate," Trout said, wearing a white cap over her blond hair with the words "Denney's Mini Donuts" emblazoned in black block letters.

Trout and her husband both work for a public pension fund, and have run a doughnut cart in their spare time for the last several years. They are trying to save money for their 11-year old daughter's college fund, and were using precious vacation time to run their stand at the fair.

Trout said she couldn't quite remember if she voted for Obama in 2008. Now, she said, the economy weighs heavy on her, even if the state's unemployment is lower than the national average. "It's still not good. People are having a hard time finding jobs, especially kids coming out of college," Trout said. " President Obama, I think he's trying, but people are looking to make a change."

But Romney had yet to make any kind of positive impression on her, Trout said.

"I'm not a fan of Romney. I don't know what it is," she said. "I know he likes to put on the jeans and try to be down to earth but it doesn't feel right."

Obama, she said, "is a real person. He's out doing the basketball brackets, he's taking his wife to games, his children to basketball practice."

Besides dissatisfaction with Romney and Obama, the other most common refrain was a visceral disgust with the political system and the nation's political leaders.

"I hate politics. There's no honesty," said Vicki Williams, a 60-something grandmother at the fair with two of her grandchildren. "They need to prove their point. Quit the mudslinging and backstabbing."

Williams voted for Obama in 2008 and said, "it's looking like I'm gonna vote for him again."

"He's been in there four years and he beats nitwit Mitt," Williams said, adding that Romney has " done nothing to impress me."

"Frankly he makes me want to puke when I see him on TV. I've been seeing a lot his face and hearing a lot of his song," she said, referring to an Obama attack ad that makes light of Romney singing "America the Beautiful."

Susan Shepard, a manager at a local Old Navy store, said she may not vote. "I don't think there's anyone worth a crap running," said Shepard, who identified as a Republican. She said she doesn't dislike Obama, but is not happy with his job performance.

And her opinion of Romney? "I don't think he's honest," she said. "I don't believe he's going to make the economy any better."

Pat Griffith, of nearby Grove City, voted for Obama four years ago but the 66-year old retired nurse cited her brother's inability to get a job for a few years as evidence of a still struggling economy.

Adair, the office manager, claimed ignorance of most of the issues the candidates are fighting over. "I'm not a very political person. It's kind of sad," she said. "I'm lower-middle class. Nobody's going to help me, so it doesn't matter to me."

She said her mother had been trying to persuade her to support Romney, but that she has been leaning toward Obama. Still, she said though she plans to vote, she is decidedly undecided. And she made a pledge.

"I will make you this promise. I will look at the issues, look at both sides, and make up my mind based on what I think, not on what my mother thinks," she said.

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