What’s the Matter With Ohio?

OHIO UPDATE: CNN/ORC will be releasing a poll of likely Ohio voters at 4PM EST

Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times report some great details on the Romney Ohio campaign operation and why the problem may not be the candidate but the message.  Tons of “read between the line” moments in the write-up:

[A]s the race for the White House takes on a new air of volatility after President Obama’s off-kilter debate performance last week — a poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center on Monday suggested that Mr. Romney had wiped out the president’s lead among voters nationally — Mr. Romney is displaying new vigor in his fight for Ohio. The state, along with Florida, Iowa and Virginia, is now at the heart of his strategy for the remaining 28 days of the campaign.

Ground game and voter registration

Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are both visiting Ohio on Tuesday, the final day of voter registration here …

Romney commitment

… but Mr. Romney is sticking around for one of his most intensive bursts of campaigning yet. His increased presence is a response to pleas from state Republican leaders to invest more time and attention in the regions where he needs to turn out voters.

It’s the message not the candidate

For the first time, Mr. Romney is personally making his case in a new television ad, saying, “Ohio families can’t afford four more years like the last four.” The message, while hardly novel, is welcome among Republicans who have watched with frustration as Mr. Obama’s campaign has dominated airwaves for weeks with a tailor-made operation in Ohio. Mr. Romney’s problems here have included the Obama campaign’s success at defining him to many voters over the summer as an out-of-touch corporate raider, as well as a state economy that has been more vibrant than the country’s over all. With both the state and national unemployment rates now below 8 percent, Mr. Romney may have less opportunity than he did earlier this year to convince voters when he asks them in his new ad, “The question Ohio families are asking is ‘Who can bring back the jobs?’ ”

Ad wars

The president’s campaign has overwhelmed Mr. Romney until now in television advertising. In Youngstown, Mr. Romney and his allied groups ran virtually no advertisements through much of September, as Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies showed their ads more than 1,100 times, according to data compiled by the media monitoring firm Kantar Media/CMAG. Mr. Romney has now increased his advertising in smaller markets across the state, including Youngstown, Zanesville and Lima. He is scheduled to travel the state on Tuesday and Wednesday with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey at his side, hoping to keep enthusiasm high among Republicans who have been showing up in greater numbers at volunteer centers across the state this week.

Targeting women

Republican strategists in Ohio said Mr. Romney needed to increase his support among women, particularly in suburban areas. Requests from state Republicans for a television commercial featuring Ann Romney have not yet been approved by the campaign headquarters in Boston.

This is huge.  Basically the people that know Ohio aren’t being listened to.  This is bad, bad, bad.  The best managers hire smart people and then listen to them.  Rob Portman is supposed to be Mr. Ohio so if he is one of the advocates for this type of ad Mitt Romney needs to step in and unclog the bottleneck in “Boston” (i.e. some campaign bureaucrat clogging up the system).

Geographic focus

But Mr. Romney is now trying to focus his appeal to specific voters in each corner of Ohio, with a focus on coal production in the southeast, conservative values in the southwest and a bipartisan pitch in the suburbs of Cleveland. In that area, George V. Voinovich, a former senator and governor, declares in a new radio ad, “Mitt Romney will bring us together and end the divisiveness we have seen in Washington.”


  1. Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    I think Romney will win Ohio. If you look at the early numbers, it appears the GOP is more energized.

  2. jvnvch
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    In the 2000 election Al Gore got 46.46% of the popular vote in Ohio. In 2004 John Kerry got 48.71%. In 2008 President Obama got 51.38%.

    President Obama will be lucky to get 48% in Ohio this year. Mitt Romney will get over 50%, win the state, and win the election.

  3. Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m very nervous about OH. Assuming VA and FL fall our way, along with NC and IN, he either needs OH plus one more swing state or just about every swing state if he loses OH. I’m not sure why Boston is dragging their heels on whatever is being requested, because OH is Obama’s firewall and it’s the state that will probably determine the election. Give OH whatever they need, spend whatever you have to.

    I know everyone is tired of the arm chair quarterbacking, and if Romney wins this is all moot, but I don’t think he’s being well served by the upper level campaign staff. Where are the ads capitalizing on his debate performance? The guy who was embarrassed last Wednesday is using the debate to attack Romney, while the guy who won it going away isn’t featuring it at all. Why? Whatever strategy they’re pursuing just seems very odd. Press the advantage you have, use the momentum..instead, they’ve seemingly let it go.

  4. wholefoodsrepublican
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    Chris — do you live in Ohio?? Everyone — let’s take ROMNEY’s case to the people. Write letters to individuals. Post on facebook your favorie you tube ad. call the romney headquarters in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Columb us

    • changer1701
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No. I live in VA and am volunteering for the campaign here, but just haven’t liked some of what I’m hearing out of Ohio.

  5. Kevin Brown
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read the NYT article and I would just say that if OH people want an ad starring Anne Romeny they better get it ASAP and just a small observation why would they not have Ann Romeny ads in the can and ready to go. A small concern but based on my readings campaigns are never smooth operations see 1980 it was not a walk in the park for Ronnie

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