Meeting Ohio Republicans who doubt Romney

Libby Hill is a karate instructor and a longtime Republican who exemplifies the gender gap Mitt Romney must narrow.
CBS News

(CBS News) PAINESVILLE, Ohio - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign is based on the idea that he's a Mr. Fix-it for the economy. But our poll of Ohio voters found that most believe the president would do a better job on the economy: 51 percent to 45. They give the president a 10-point advantage on taxes too, 53 to 43. And on dealing with the deficit, however, Gov. Romney comes out on top, 49 to 45. We check in with Ohio voters.

In this swing county in this swing state, the political ground game is well underway.

The polls suggest the Republicans have work to do, especially on undecided voters such as Nick and Elaine Sarris.

"I think the economy is better today than it was three years ago, so we might be heading in the right direction," said Nick.

They own the sidewalk café in Painesville. And while they say they haven't made up their minds, their words lean toward the president.

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"I do like that he created a lot of jobs in Ohio," said Elaine about Obama. "I'm looking forward to the debates. Hopefully they answer some questions that they didn't answer at the convention."

Lake County is a good indicator of political sentiment statewide.

George Bush won here in 2004 and went on to win Ohio and re-election. Barack Obama prevailed here in 2008 and won the state and the presidency. Each rode a wave of enthusiasm that folks here say is missing this time around, something that should concern both campaigns as they try to get out the vote.

Lake County is more moderate Republican than Tea Party, and here's where Romney may have some trouble.

Libby Hill is a karate instructor and a longtime Republican who exemplifies the gender gap Romney must narrow.

Asked what would Romney have to do to bring her back in the fold, Hill said: "I think he'd have to come more toward the center."

Her party is too conservative, she said, and its nominee too removed. "He really doesn't know the common man," Hill said.

Here in Ohio, that's a very hard perception to change. And it's made all the harder when you have fewer than six weeks to change it.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.