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Ohio Already Reporting Solid Voter Turnout


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary. At this hour, polls have closed in what may be the most-watched state in this election, Ohio. Also closed at 7:30 Eastern Time, North Carolina and West Virginia, and NPR projects that West Virginia will fall in Mitt Romney's column. No projections on the other two states yet. NPR is also expecting Governor Romney to win Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana, and for President Obama, Vermont.

The usual hosts of this program, Melissa Block and Robert Siegel, are serving as our guides this evening for NPR's election coverage, and we turn to them now.


Hello, Lynn.


Hey, Lynn. And, Robert, we've been talking as we've been covering the results so far this evening, about races that are very, very close, too close to call.


BLOCK: We've been talking about the state of Virginia. People were looking to see whether that would be an early harbinger of what's to come. We have nothing to say about Virginia yet because it is extremely close.

SIEGEL: Polls closed at 7 o'clock. And I would assume people are still on line in many polling places.

BLOCK: Apparently, very, very high turnout in Virginia. But let's go now to Ohio, and that's where we're going to find NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Don, you're at the Ohio Democratic Party election night event in Columbus. What can you tell us about what you've been hearing there?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Well, we had very solid voter turnout across Ohio. We do know that. Some places were way up, some places up just a bit, some places, maybe, were down a little bit. But at the polling places I went to, they were steady. And I can tell you, if we need any further indication of how close this is, Governor Romney made a stop in Cleveland today, an Election Day visit.

I went out for about an hour with some AFL-CIO canvassers working neighborhoods, knocking on doors. They wanted to make sure there was nobody left who hadn't voted, who could use a ride to the polls or whatever. So right up through almost poll closing there's been action here.

BLOCK: And, Don, Ohio is a state that President Obama won by five percentage points four years ago. Talk a bit about the state of play there, because the auto industry bailout has been a huge issue for Ohio voters, lots of jobs connected to the auto industry in that state. What else have you been hearing about what's most on people's minds?

GONYEA: Well, the economy is what's most on people's mind here. And that auto bailout story has really been the lead in that discussion, especially when you look at the last two weeks of the campaign. The Romney campaign made it an issue talking about the Jeep plants that is in Toledo that perhaps would have gone away if - certainly would have gone away if Chrysler had gone under.

But Governor Romney was talking about how those jobs might be moved to Ohio anyway. It was something that he was smacked down on by the executives from Chrysler and from General Motors when he made a several claim about GM. So it became an issue, and it's something the Obama campaign try to capitalize on.

BLOCK: OK. Don, thanks so much.

GONYEA: Thank you.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Don Gonyea in Columbus, Ohio. Robert? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
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