Residents of a small Ohio town in a county that has usually correctly chosen the president for more than a century are offering no clues about which candidate will get their vote in the 2016 election.
Many in the town of Pemberville, in Wood County, Ohio, don’t know who will earn their vote, but once they do, America may want to pay attention.
Wood County, which has a population of about 130,000, has voted for the winner in 23 of the last 29 presidential elections. That means the county has voted for the winning presidential candidate in the majority of elections dating back to 1900, when incumbent President William McKinley beat Democrat William Jennings Bryan.
But a year out, some in Wood County's Pemberville — a town of about 1,400 people around 20 miles south of Toledo — aren’t offering any foresight into who might win the majority of the 2016 vote.
"I have not made a decision by any stretch," said Pemberville resident Bob Frobose.
"They never get to the meat of the situation," Frobose, who runs the local butcher shop, said of the candidates. "It seems like all I've gotten is the entertainment factor."
Frobose said, with 12 months to go, he thinks a lot of voters are already "worn" out with the seemingly inconsequential attacks the candidates have been lobbing at one another.
"I wish the bickering would be strictly about policy instead of personal attacks," he said. Something Frobose is particularly interested in is how candidates would help small businesses, and he said he hasn’t heard enough from them on that topic or other issues that directly impact the American people.
"They’re not talking to us," he said. “Career politicians are disconnected from the general public.”
Diane Hoefkens, who runs a Pemberville florist shop, agrees.
Hoefkens said the people of Pemberville watch the campaigns closely and discuss the issues, but they don't feel they’re getting answers about their concerns.
"We have lots of questions ... we wish we could ask the questions," Hoefkens said. "Why don't they come live in our shoes for a while because we do feel removed from Washington."
Those in Wood County may feel removed from Washington, but in some ways its demographics largely represent the American public.
The median household income in Wood County is about $52,000 as compared with America’s median household income of about $53,000, according to the U.S. Census. While the ethnic diversity in Wood County is much less varied than that of the breakdown of the U.S., age cross sections are similar to the whole of the country, the Census showed.
Perhaps, for those reasons and Wood County's track record with choosing the president, candidates should be paying closer attention to Pemberville and other towns like it.
"The campaigning is such a big machine and I sometimes think that ... they don't see us," Hoefkens said. "Does out vote count? We’d like to think so," she added. “I want to see some action."