Beacon Journal business writer

Brace yourself — and your telephone — as the presidential election draws near.

Phones will be ringing even more than usual from now until November with political calls, predicts John Green, director of the University of Akron’s Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

“I think we’ll see the highest contact in Ohio that we’ve ever seen. That’s saying something, because the volume has always been high in Ohio,” Green said.

Presidential election years always bring higher numbers of commercials, ads and calls, but this year hey started early, Green said. Typically, campaigns ramp up phone calls, TV ads, direct mail and social media campaigns after Labor Day, but this year, they started in June in states considered a toss-up, he said.

“Both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, are very well funded” and polls across the country have essentially been tied for months, Green said.

Polls can show that no more than 10 percent of Ohioans are undecided, but that 10 percent could very well determine the election, Green said.

While people are sensitive about getting phone calls because it seems like an intrusion, politicians know they get people’s attention. People can change the channel on a TV ad or throw out a piece of mail, Green said.

“There’s no question that lots of political calls do tend to annoy people in Ohio and in other battleground states,” Green said.

He said colleagues in states that aren’t battlegrounds often call him to find out how the campaigns are going because they’re not getting robocalls.

Even a political junkie like Green admits that, as a consumer, he, too, can become annoyed with political calls.

“This is irritating, but this is one of the features of democracy. If we’re going to have choices, we’re going to have free campaigns and we’re probably going to have to put up with some irritation and some inconveniences,” he said.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blinfisher and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty.