Ohio in Focus

From the inception of this blog Ohio and Virginia have been 1 and 1a in terms of priorities for both campaigns.  Should one campaign win both those states they almost certainly win the election.  The Romney campaign is spending three days in Ohio to being home what has been a tough nut to crack in an otherwise dead heat race:

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are making multiple stops this week alone in a state that’s trending toward the president, endangering Romney’s White House hopes.

Dueling Campaigns

The popularity of Obama’s auto industry bailout, and a better-than-average local economy, are undermining Romney’s call for Ohioans to return to their GOP-leaning ways, which were crucial to George W. Bush’s two elections. Ohio has 18 electoral votes, seventh most in the nation, and no Republican has won the White House without carrying it. Romney is scrambling to reverse the polls that show Obama ahead. On Tuesday, he made the first of his four planned Ohio stops this week, joining his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, for a rally near Dayton. On Wednesday, Obama will visit the college towns of Kent and Bowling Green, and Romney’s bus tour will stop in the Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo areas.

Campaign Saturation

Not even Florida has seen as many presidential TV campaign ads as Ohio, and neither nominee goes very long without visiting or talking about the state. When Obama touted his “decision to save the auto industry” on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, he mentioned not the major car-making state of Michigan but Ohio, which focuses more on car parts. “One in eight jobs in Ohio is dependent on the auto industry,” Obama said.

The Kasich Konundrum

One problem for Romney is that Ohio’s 7.2 percent unemployment rate is below the national average, as the Republican governor, John Kasich, often reminds residents. “We are up 122,000 jobs,” Kasich told a panel during the Republican convention last month. “The auto industry job growth is 1,200,” he said, perhaps trying to play down that sector’s role. Kasich says he supports Romney and Ohio would do even better if Obama were replaced. But the governor’s understandable pride in the state’s job growth runs counter to Romney’s message that Obama is an economic failure.

An opening for Romney

The Fox News poll suggests there’s room for Romney to advance. Nearly one in three Ohio voters said they are “not at all satisfied” with the way things are going in the country, and an additional 26 percent are “not very satisfied.” Only 7 percent are “very satisfied,” and 34 percent are “somewhat satisfied.” Romney is trying to tap that discontent. But he’s having mixed success with his chief target: white, working class voters who are socially conservative and often have union backgrounds. A generation ago they were called “Reagan Democrats.”

Auto Bailout Boon

In 2009, Obama’s administration used billions of taxpayer dollars to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat while they reorganized through bankruptcy. Romney said the companies should have been allowed to enter bankruptcy without government help. But an array of officials at the time said the automakers would have gone under without it. GM still owes the government about $25 billion. But many workers in Ohio and elsewhere consider the auto bailout a success. It affected thousands of businesses, some of them fairly small, that make an array of products that go into vehicles, new and used. Jeff Gase, a UAW union member who introduced Obama at a Columbus rally last week, credited the president with saving the paint company where he works. “Mom and pop body shops” buy the paint, Gase said, and now his plant is running “full steam ahead.” Romney notes that many Ohio car dealerships went out of business during the industry reorganization.

Bring the fight to Obama

Still, the Republican is pushing hard. Romney has forced Obama to run ads in Ohio defending the administration’s handling of China trade and the U.S. coal industry. Romney’s ads say government regulations are stifling the energy industry and Obama hasn’t been tough enough on China’s protection of its exporters, two claims the administration rejects. Ohio, meanwhile, appears to be the only state this week where Obama’s campaign is still airing a 60-second ad called “The Question,” which disputes Romney’s claim that Americans are worse off than they were four years ago.

One Trackback

  1. By Barack Bashing and I « elcidharth on December 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    […] Ohio in Focus « Battleground Watch […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: