RICHMOND, Va. — People who live in battleground states tend to have a number and a coping strategy.
Virginian Catherine number is four: Her family recently got four political phone calls in five minutes.
Ohioan Charles Montague’s coping mechanism is his TV remote. He pushes mute when a political ad comes on.
All the attention that the presidential campaigns are funneling into a small number of hard-fought states comes at a personal price for many voters.
The phone rings during a favorite TV show. Traffic snarls when a candidate comes to town. A campaign volunteer turns up on the doorstep during dinner. Bills get buried in a stack of campaign fliers. TV ads spew out mostly negative vibes.
‘‘It’s just too much,’’ says Carmen Medina, of Chester, Va. ‘‘It’s becoming a little too overwhelming.’’
Medina, it should be noted, is an enthusiastic supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. But she’s starting to block phone numbers to make the calls stop.
The parties speak with pride of their massive ground operations — the door knockers, the phone banks, the campaign signs, and more. They trumpet the higher level of activity this year than in 2008.
With the campaign now focused on just nine states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin — the parties are able to target their resources narrowly.
Republicans say they have made three times more calls and 23 times more door knocks in Ohio than they had by this time in 2008, for example, and nearly six times more calls and 11 times more door knocks in Virginia. Democrats don’t give out that level of detail, but describe ambitious outreach from their 60-plus field offices in Virginia and 125 in Ohio.
But is there a risk of overkill? Not to David Betras, chairman of the Democratic Party in Ohio’s Mahoning County. He considers himself a field general in the battle to reelect Obama. ‘‘Is there a saturation point? I haven’t heard that,’’ he says. ‘‘I think just the opposite. I think people, at least in my neck of the woods, are kind of excited that they’re playing such an important role.’’
But he does say, ‘‘Some people you call and of course they’re burned out with it, and you thank them very much and you move on.’’
Some wealthy donors deciding to spread messages on their own
WASHINGTON — The latest trend in an election year marked by gushers of money? Big spenders going solo to spread a message.
A billionaire investment broker is doling out millions to run a minute-long national ad telling Americans that he’s voting Republican because the country is on a march toward socialism. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set aside $10 million of his personal fortune to help elect moderate candidates around the country. The founder of a Pennsylvania waste collection company is bombarding his state with mailings and billboards ripping President Obama.
‘‘I’m tired of my money going in with a pool of others,’’ said Scott Wagner, the founder of Penn Waste Inc. ‘‘I don’t need some other organization distorting or not really standing up for the same message.’’
There’s no shortage of portals for money, especially with the explosion of third-party groups — commonly known as super PACs — that are raising and spending millions. Candidates and political parties are foraging for every dollar, too.
Thanks to recent federal court decisions, lax campaign finance laws are allowing wealthy individuals to spend millions to influence voters via super PACs this year.
An AP analysis of campaign finance data reported to the Federal Election Commission found more than 100 registered super PACs that reported having only a few donors. .
Interactive Brokers Group founder Thomas Peterffy, a Connecticut billionaire and native of Hungary, said he will sink up to $10 million into a broadcast campaign.
‘‘It seems like people don’t learn from the past,’’ Peterffy says. ‘‘That’s why I’m voting Republican and putting this ad on television.’’ - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Romney to be at convention center on Nov. 6
When election returns stream in from across the country on Nov. 6, Mitt Romney and his campaign team will be ensconced at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, according to a campaign official who asked not to be identified.
The night could be a long one at the sprawling South Boston facility, judging from polls that continue to show a tight race. As such, the eyes of the nation will be trained on Boston for a victory or concession speech from Romney.
Although Romney makes his home in Belmont and keeps his campaign headquarters in Boston, he is not expected to capture the state’s 11 electoral votes. An average of recent polls by RealClearPolitics showed President Obama leading Romney here 54.7 percent to 39.7 percent. - BRIAN MACQUARRIE