By David Skolnick
Republican Mitt Romney failed to win one voting precinct in Youngstown and Austintown, and he captured only two of Boardman’s 47 precincts on his way to a 27.7-percentage-point defeat in Mahoning County.
An analysis by The Vindicator of raw precinct-by-precinct results in the county, a traditional Democratic stronghold, shows Youngstown provided 30.5 percent of President Barack Obama’s 74,346 votes in the county.
In 2008, Obama picked up 79,173 voters in the county. Overall, 128,914 of the county’s 178,270 registered voters cast ballots that year.
With the county’s population decline, there were 170,079 registered voters this year with 119,171 people casting votes in this election.
In the city, Obama, the incumbent Democrat, beat Romney 85.5 percent to 13.8 percent. The rest went to others on the ballot.
Obama won 63.1 percent of the vote in the county on his way to winning Ohio, a key battleground state, and the presidential election.
“We did more with less,” said county Democratic Party Chairman David Betras. “We had less [voters] go to the polls than in 2008, but we had a bigger plurality for the president and a higher voter percentage than in 2008. We did better in a very difficult political climate than four years ago. We focused on the strong Democratic areas of the county and got out the vote.”
Obama was exceptionally popular with voters in Youngstown, winning all 77 of the city’s precincts.
In the city’s 2nd Ward, Precinct H, on the East Side, Obama received 306 votes to 1 for Romney. Richard Duncan, an independent from Aurora who only had his name on the Ohio ballot for president, outperformed Romney in 2-H. Duncan, who received 0.23 of a percent of the statewide vote, received two votes in Youngstown 2-H.
The same precinct in 2008 gave Obama 280 votes compared with two votes for Republican John McCain. Ralph Nader, an independent who received 0.74 of a percent in the 2008 election, matched McCain in Youngstown 2-H with two votes.
In addition to 2-H, there were 12 other voter precincts in Youngstown in which Romney failed to get at least 10 votes.
Some of the results are brutal.
In Youngstown’s 1st Ward, Precinct B on the East Side, Obama beat Romney 451 to 4.
In that same precinct four years ago, Obama beat McCain 436 to 3.
“We took whatever assets we had and poured it into the city,” Betras said.
The Romney beat-downs were all over Youngstown.
He lost to Obama 295 to 3 in the 3rd Ward’s Precinct E on the North Side. Romney lost to Obama 303 to 8 in the 5th Ward’s Precinct M on the West Side, and 342 to 7 in the 6th Ward’s Precinct C on the South Side.
That wasn’t unexpected, said Bill Binning, Youngstown State University political science department chairman emeritus and a former county Republican Party chairman.
When Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 as a Republican in an election he easily won, he received no votes in a few Youngstown precincts, Binning said.
The closest Romney got in Youngstown was in Ward 5, Precinct B in Cornersburg. He got 36 percent of the vote there.
“We can safely say, ‘Youngstown is a Democratic city,’” said Paul Sracic, YSU’s political science department chairman. “Also, Mahoning County is remarkably consistent. The voter percentage for Democrats is about the same. Mahoning County voted the way it always does. Ohio is changing. Hamilton County is turning blue, and south of Mahoning County is turning red. There are changes throughout the state, except in northeast Ohio.”
Also, Romney failed to win a single precinct of the 40 in Austintown and won only 2 of Boardman’s 47 precincts. McCain had the same results in 2008, except there were 3 more precincts in Austintown and 4 more in Boardman four years ago.
“We wanted to keep Boardman kind of close, but I don’t think it was a complete surprise” Romney lost, said county Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe.
Obama beat Romney by 4,215 in Boardman, 13,065 for Obama to 8,850 for Romney.
Obama swept all precincts in Struthers, Campbell, Coitsville, Jackson, Milton, Lowellville, New Middletown, Washingtonville and Craig Beach [the latter two only have one precinct each].
Obama won 10 of Poland Township’s 16 precincts, and won the township vote 3,977 to 3,734. He won 3 of Sebring’s four precincts, and the village’s vote 911 to 821.
Obama also won two of Poland village’s three precincts and the village by a vote of 806 to 799. In 2008, McCain beat Obama in the village by 22 votes.
“Poland Village and Canfield used to be reliable Republican areas,” Binning said. “Now it looks like it’s only Canfield.”
Canfield Township was good to Romney. He won seven of eight precincts and got 2,855 votes to 2,063 for Obama.
Romney won 7 of 10 precincts in the city of Canfield with Obama winning two and a 235-235 tie in the city’s Precinct 2.
But several of the results from Canfield city were close, and Romney only captured 52.9 percent of the city’s vote, beating Obama 2,456 to 2,167.
“We were hoping to do better in Canfield,” Munroe said.
As McCain did in 2008, Romney won in rural areas of the county with smaller populations than the cities and large suburbs such as Austintown and Boardman.
Romney won Beaver, Beloit, Goshen, Green, Smith and Springfield. He also won in Berlin, but only by two votes, 563 to 561; and in Ellsworth by 20 votes, 633 to 613.