RICHMOND, Va. — People who live in battleground states tend to have a number and a coping strategy.
Virginian Catherine Caughey’s number is four: Her family recently got four political phone calls in the space of five minutes.
Ohioan Charles Montague’s coping mechanism is his TV remote. He pushes the mute button whenever a campaign 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.
The effects are cumulative.
“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. She squealed with joy outside the United Latino Market in Richmond when she learned that Romney had just appeared at a rally across the street.
But she’s starting to block phone numbers to Make. The. Calls. Stop.
Even Ann Romney, the candidate’s wife, has had enough. “I don’t want to get myself upset so I am not watching television for the moment,” she told the women on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday.
“Trust me, the audience members that are in swing states are sick of them,” she said of political ads.
Ditto the president.
“If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I,” Barack Obama said during the Democratic National Convention.
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.