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Swing State Spotlight: Ohio goes to Obama

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posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 03:59 PM
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.

Political Geography
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.

Political Divisions

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 Republican ring.

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).

Political Trends
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.

Final Analysis
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.

Underdog Strategy
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]

posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

The black, Hispanic and youth vote are energized this time around, and will be the deciding factor. Sen. McCain will try to appeal with the more conservative Reagan Democrats with his pick of Gov. Palin. The key is turnout for winning this state. Sen. McCain must win Ohio, Sen. Obama can lose it and still win since he is running well in several states that Sen. Kerry lost in 2004. Look for Sen. Biden to campaign heavily in the Reagan Democrat area, and also to hammer Sen. McCain's support for NAFTA, which is extremely unpopular over there. I also think Bob Barr and Ralph Nader will cancel each other out, being negligible to both candidates.
I am predicting Sen. Obama will win this state, and if it does turn blue, Sen. McCain will lose the presidency.

posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 04:33 PM
Forgive me for being direct, but can you name any states (other than Utah and Alaska, obviously) where you don't think the minority vote is going to be decisive?

Frankly i think people are getting the mistaken impression that there is this vast army of politically interested minority voters that just hasn't bothered to register because they aren't excited about white candidates. But the demographics of congress just don't bare that theory out.

The fact of the matter is that the economic conditions which minorities are statistically most likely to be under are not conducive to high political interest or activity.

People who take the standard tax deduction, people who don't own homes, people who don't have degrees, etc are statistically much less likely to bother to vote. They have less motive to vote: they have less invested in our government. They also are less likely to have been exposed to enough political theory to have extremely strong opinions on many of the nuances which distinguish politicians from one another; on the surface, politicians are a relatively homogenous group afterall. That breeds apathy.

The minority population of Ohio is comparable to that of the US as a whole, and therefore the idea that minorities will be exceptionally important to the race in Ohio seems unlikely to pan out. That is made particularly true by the fact that voter registration efforts are focusing in large part on college campuses- a place where (for reasons irrelevant to this discussion) you are statistically less likely to find minorities.

Next, the fact that the most politically balanced portion of the state has a reputation for voting its pocket book (as opposed to ideals) bodes ill for greens in that area. Meanwhile Libertarians are somewhat stronger in the Republican areas of Ohio than they are in many other parts of the country. That creates a real possibility that Bob Barr will be a factor.

In 2004, the Libertarian and Constitution Parties took about 25,000 votes combined, compared to less than 200 for the Green party. The margin of victory for Bush in Ohio in 2004 was 118,775 votes. Assuming those 25,000 voters would have gone Republican if they hadn't gone for their 3rd party of choice, the margin would have been 143,775. That means that conservative 3rd parties controlled 17% of the potential republican advantage in 2004.

Can conservative 3rd parties expand their influence 5 or 6 fold to turn the election? They don't have to.
That was against a conservative Republican incumbent with an approval rating above 50%; their numbers were naturally depressed, and Republican voter turnout may well have been higher than it will be this time out.

My educated guess would be that conservative 3rd parties could account for 30 to 50% of the margin in Ohio this year. This reduces the job in front of Obama appreciably, perhaps not in terms of the entire voting population, but definitely in terms of the fraction thereof which is truly variable.

posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 01:02 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

I live in a majority black neighborhood and I speak to my neighbors on the upcoming election. That is where I get my views from. They have told me most of the other Democrats who ran would get the hard core voters, but this time many people who never voted are registering. That is why I base a lot of my thinking on that turnout. There are other factors, like the blue collar workers who will also be a must need for a win. The truth is most poor and minority people are never polled, so the vote is often guessed at or ignored.
The truth is most people are disenfranchised with the political system and the Liberal and Conservative blocks would actually account for around 20% for each if everyone actually voted. Most people are moderates and very few candidates speak for them.
The Obama campaign is going to try to get Virginia (which is tied) along with Iowa and New Mexico. That way Ohio will be a nice prize, but not a necessity to win in 2008.

posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 10:49 AM
Once again you're only thinking about things from Obama's perspective.

Obama can win without Ohio. McCain CAN'T. Ergo victory in Ohio=total victory for Obama. It's a magic switch that turns off John McCain's whole campaign.

And only time will tell if a campaign this negative can really mobilize those who never exercise their right to vote, or whether it's just getting people to vent their frustrations to friends and pollsters.

posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 11:56 AM
reply to post by The Vagabond

I do admit I have a bias toward Sen. Obama and I apologize for it (I live in the south side of Chicago). I also really like Sen. McCain as he is a former POW who was treated terribly in the 2000 election.
The election should be Sen Obama's to win considering how unpopular the Bush Administration is to the populace. This whole election has been turned upside down by both the campaigns with the selection of Sen. Obama and Gov. Palin. I am sure Sen. McCain will bring out the big guns and so will Sen. Obama to help them in this race.

I am going by the states that will turn to Sen. Obama in my prediction. New Mexico and Iowa were won by Pres. Bush in 2004. They are polling in favor of Sen. Obama, and are likely in his corner. That is why I have stated Ohio is a must win for Sen. McCain. However, Sen. McCain can try to take Pennsylvania or Michigan to counter an Ohio loss.

Edited to add:
You are correct about the negativity in this campaign. We have already seen it pop up and it will only get uglier. Will people stay home or vote for Dr Paul?
This will be one election I will be watching.

[edit on 9/9/2008 by kidflash2008]

posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 10:58 PM
I also favor Obama, I just have a different outlook on the dynamics of the election.

As for replacing Ohio with Michigan or Pennsylvania- the geographical proximity does bring with it certain similarities. Obama's weaknesses in Ohio and PA are similar for example. So it doesn't seem likely to me that McCain will lose a state his party got in 04 while gaining a new one in that same region. If he can't beat Obama in Ohio he shouldn't be able to win PA, much less MI, which frankly I consider a swing state in name only.

And that's where things get interesting. If McCain does manage to defend all of the other 2004 red states, but still loses Ohio, it's curtains. The best he could hope for then is to pick up NH and send the election to congress for only the second time in history (which would be INCREDIBLY interesting, because there's a real chance in that situation that the Senate would choose Biden for VP before the congress could sort things out).

posted on Sep, 10 2008 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

All the polls I have seen suggest Sen McCain will lose Iowa and New Mexico. I know that New Hampshire does like Sen McCain, but they like Sen Biden more, and he will not be able to steal it away. Michigan and Pennsylvania are leaning Sen Obama and he has to seal the deal with those two states. He is heavily campaigning and Sen Biden will help in those states. Ohio is the make or break for Sen McCain. With Dr Paul now urging his supporters to vote for a third party candidate (Bob Barr is a Libertarian) instead of the two major parties, I think that will hurt Sen McCain more than Sen Obama. Most of Dr Paul's supporters would never vote for a Democrat, but would vote for a Republican. We have to wait a few weeks while the dust from the conventions and Dr Paul's speech to see what the polls will start reading. By October, after the debates, the numbers usually tighten up and a better picture will be seen on the election itself.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 03:33 PM
After seeing a number of polls shifting for Sen. McCain and more of Hillary's support going to him also, I think Ohio will stay blue in 2008. The support Sen. McCain has among white working class voters his incredibly huge. With the excitement of Gov Palin on the ticket only getting bigger, I can't see the state changing. I think Sen McCain will take the state by 200,000 votes, and will make inroads in Pennsylvania's huge Catholic population with his choice of a pro-life candidate.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 03:53 PM
Look how close this is today!

If you click on Ohio, you can see the polls there. But like I said, I think it's far too early to tell. We still have the debates.

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 10:53 AM
The economic meltdown is not a good thing for the McCain campaign. The Obama campaign is starting to work in and hammer the economic message. This will help Sen Obama get more of the blue collar vote, as their jobs are at stake.

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by The Vagabond

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Excellent analysis Vagabond.

Sorry I missed it the first time around, but I found the explanation that Ohio represents the whole country pretty interesting. I will have to tell my neighbors.

The presidential race is extremely close here in Ohio, but recent polls show Obama up by a point or two. After the last election and our voting debacle with touchscreen voting machines, many people will be watching what happens here again. Our new democratic Secretary of State has fixed most of the problems, so hopefully we won't have any shenanigans.

Both campaigns know Ohio is important and even 48 days out, we are being blasted with TV adds, literature and phone calls constantly. I have also been visited a couple of times from Obama campaign supporters, but none from the McCain Camp. I guess we will have to live with it until the election.

In all reality, this shouldn't even be close, but McCain has made a go of it, and picking Palin as his VP has given his campaign a boost. I see this wearing off though and as kidflash mentioned the economy is going to hurt him. In the end, I also see Ohio going for Obama, and that means he should win the election.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 07:45 PM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Well, just when I thought everything was cool.

Republicans file suit against Ohio secretary of state

The Ohio GOP with a little help from the McCain campaign has filed a suit to block early voting in Ohio. This was supposedly in retaliation for our Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, for rejecting absentee ballots given out by the McCain campaign where the "registered voter" box was not checked. She said that Ohio law said if the box was not checked it was to be rejected. She proposed to allow voters a chance to go to her website and download a new ballot and they could mail it in, but I guess that wasn't good enough.

Here we go again.

I think I will start a thread on this.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:12 PM
reply to post by Hal9000

Gov Palin is losing the momentum when she was first picked. Sen Obama is doing better in the women's vote than John Kerry did in 2004. The campaign has to hammer Sen McCain on the economy, and Sen Obama needs to do some personal town hall meetings to connect with the blue collar workers. Sen Biden is starting to drill in the economic message, and they have to court the white blue collar vote.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by The Vagabond

660,000 new people have registered in Ohio, and most of them will probably vote for Sen Obama. With early voting already started and the economy tanked, it is hard pressed to see Sen McCain winning this state. He should give up on Ohio, and turn to Pennsylvania which does not have early voting. Sen Obama has started to campaign in rural white areas, something he did not do during the primaries. The reactions have been very positive, as Sen McCain has yet to do so. Sen Obama is learning from lessons lost in past Democratic campaigns by going to the tough areas and at least making an argument. He needs to pick up 40% of the white vote (both men and women) to win, and he looks like he will get much higher than that.

[edit on 10/10/2008 by kidflash2008]

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