Women campaigners battle for votes in Ohio

(CBS News) CLEVELAND - On election night, it could very much be Ohio that will tip the race. Pollsters have also found that women could have the last word. The campaigns of both President Barack Obama and Republican Gov. Mitt Romney are working hard to win over those electorates.

In the battle for the support of Ohio's women, Nancy Suhadolnik is in the infantry. A lifelong Republican, she attended an Ann Romney event Thursday night in Strongsville.

The event took place a couple of hours after Suhadolnik put in a full day on the phones at party headquarters, stressing the economy as a primary women's issue.

"The race is going to be very close here in Ohio," she told voters she called. "You could make the difference."

In 2008, women made up 52 percent of the vote in Ohio. At this late stage, Suhadolnik is hunting for a particular voter.

"It is exciting when you finally get one that is undecided," she says. "

Twenty-seven miles away, there's plenty of enthusiasm at a Shaker Heights coffee shop, where Cindy Demsey presides over a postcard party like a drill sergeant.

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The latest CBS News poll showed the president leading Gov. Mitt Romney 56 percent to 39 percent among women in Ohio.

The women in Demsey's group are all Democrats, and they're composing personal messages to undecided women voters.

"This is crunch time. Your lives don't matter. It's all about the campaign," Demsey tells the group.

Demsey is as close to the ground as it gets in the ground game.

"We are the ground. We are absolutely the ground," she says.

Both sides are well aware that four years ago, women broke for Barack Obama 53 percent to 45 percent and helped him carry this state.

President Obama's grassroots efforts appear to be stronger than Gov. Romney's. One way to look at a campaign's on-the-ground-success is to look at the footprint the campaign leaves behind, and the footprint left by the Obama campaign is much larger. The president's campaign has much as 131 field offices in Ohio, compared to 39 for Romney.

  • Dean Reynolds

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