Welcome to the second of my swing state spotlight threads, where I break down the balance of forces in a battleground state in an effort to project
the result of the Presidential Election.
For the reasons described below, I believe that Barack Obama
will win Ohio, although Obama is taking stategic risks which must pay off in order
for this projection to be correct.
Ohio has the 3rd most electors of the 2008 battleground states. Along with Florida, the state was decisive in 2004. The 2008 race there is a virtual
dead heat. In the past 100 years, only two candidates have won the presidency without winning Ohio: Kennedy and FDR. A Republican has never won the
whitehouse without winning Ohio.
Ohio is sometimes viewed as a scaled down model of the United States as a whole, which may explain why it so seldom backs a loser.
Many political analysts divide the state into five distinct regions: a central region and one in each corner. These regions are as different from
each other as most states, and the largest (northeast) is only twice the size of the smallest (southeast). The northeast, including Cleveland,
Youngstown, Lorain/Elyria, and other industrial areas, votes solidly Democrat largely due to its traditionally strong unions. The northwest is largely
farmland with a few small manufacturing cities such as Toledo and Lima, and leans slightly Republican. The southwest is the most heavily Republican
part of the state, especially in the suburbs in between Dayton and Cincinnati. Libertarian candidates also run surprisingly strongly in this area. The
Appalachian regions in the Southeast are a swing bloc, tending to favor the candidates who have strong economic agendas. The central part of the
state, consisting of Columbus and its suburbs, is typical of many newly large cities: a poor urban Democratic core surrounded by a rich suburban
African-American represent 12.1% of the total population of Ohio, compared to 12.9% of the United States as a whole, so the impact of the black vote
should be average (Source)
Both houses of the Ohio General Assembly are held by Republican majorities, but the governor is a Democrat, as are most other state-wide elected
officials in Ohio, and the mayors of the state's six largest cities (Source)
. The states US
Senators are split between the two parties.
Democrats gained ground in Ohio in the 2006 midterm elections.
The state went to George W. Bush by 4% in 2000 but less than 2% in 2004.
Both Hillary Clinton and Ohio's democratic governor have scored victories with rural-centered strategies, but Obama has not attempted this, and
perhaps as a result, lost the state heavily to Clinton.
However the youth vote grew significantly (11%) from 2000 to 2004, and may do so again thanks to a law that allows voters to recieve an absentee
ballot at the same time that they register to vote. The expected impact of this convenience factor has brought labor unions and other organizations to
plan on targeting college campuses. Source
Democrats hold a major voter registration advantage in Ohio.
Democrats can win in Ohio, and have several advantages, however their candidate is not using the proven rural strategy which does reduce his chances
in what might otherwise be a sure thing.
Barack Obama is somewhat more likely than John McCain to carry the state.
John McCain may be able to curb excitement for Barack Obama among industrial workers and union men by attacking his soft stance on China. He can also
likely gain ground in rural areas. Drilling for oil may be a winning issue for McCain there as well if he can poke holes in Obama's energy agenda.
If you can't beat 'em
A look at the 2004 Electoral Map reveals that Ohio is virtually a do or die proposition for Republicans.
If John McCain loses Ohio, he must carry every other battleground state in order to win. This would mean taking Michigan and New Hampshire, both of
which lean slightly Democrat in polls and went Democratic in 2004.
edit because I forgot to change Florida to Ohio when I built this post from a template.
[edit on 18-9-2008 by The Vagabond]