Ohio in Focus

Ohio is where all the action is right now and Maggie Haberman at Politico has the five factors that may swing the Buckeye State for Romney:

[T]here are five key ingredients required for a Romney win in a state that presents the GOP nominee’s easiest and surest path to the White House. Much as the contest between President George W. Bush and challenger John Kerry hinged on specific factors in Ohio, the 2012 contest boils down to some very basic old-fashioned Ohio politics. Below are POLITICO’S five things that, according to longtime operatives familiar with the state, must happen for Romney to capture Ohio:

1. Win the Columbus media market

It reaches 19 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and Obama was the first Democrat in decades to carry the Columbus media market when he won in 2008. Obama won this area by just under 3 points in 2008…Obama and John McCain split the state’s two other large media markets in 2008 — Cleveland went for Obama and Cincinnati for McCain. But Columbus is the main battleground region now, and it shows. The central Ohio area has seen well more than 20,000 so far, according to media trackers — far outpacing the number that aired in the 2004 presidential race. Romney is now on par with Obama in terms of ad spending in the state, but was heavily outgunned for a long time. Romney also needed to reach parity with Obama on the airwaves not just in terms of raw dollars spent, but amount of ads. In the meantime, both Romney and Paul Ryan plan to appear in the state more than 15 times combined before election day.

2. Take back GOP-leaning suburban voters

It’s not enough for Romney to be on air heavily — he also needs to tweak his sales pitch. The GOP nominee has had to adjust his ad strategy so that it’s a softer sell for women and suburban voters, including those who tend to lean Republican in a state where there’s no party registration and who Obama captured in 2008 to strong effect. In North Canton, Ohio on Friday night, Romney’s pitch to women was part of his standard stump, but was clear nonetheless. Romney talked about school choice and education, an issue that tests well with suburban women, many of whom were on hand to hear the GOP nominee speak. A striking fact of the 2012 cycle has been the absence of Ann Romney in heavy rotation in advertising. Mrs. Romney appears at the end of the ads in the disclaimer photo alongside her husband, but she has not been a central focus (though she has stumped in swing states frequently for her husband). [A]n important bellwether to watch is Stark County, just south of the Cleveland area. It’s gone for the winner in every presidential election the last six times, except for one — the 2004 Bush-Kerry race, when the Democrat won it by less than two points.

3. Go for the coal

Romney’s campaign is betting that the electorate will look more like 2004 than 2008 — so it’s natural that the goal would be to shoot for Bush’s margins of eight years ago. [F]ocus on the coal industry in southeast Ohio, where the Obama administration’s policies are often described as the “war on coal.”

4. Independents’ day

Winning independents is something Romney needs to do everywhere, but in Ohio the indie factor is even more crucial — he must have a very strong showing with them. The silver lining for the Romney campaign, which it cites often, is that recent polling shows them winning independents in basically every survey, even ones where he isn’t winning overall. Obama had an edge with this group in 2008, but it’s more of a battle this time.

5. The great ‘Let it Go Bankrupt’ issue

If there is any issue that Democrats believe helps them above all, it’s the auto bailout. And if there is any issue that Romney’s campaign is clearly defensive over, it’s the auto bailout. Many Ohioans work in the auto industry and benefited from the Obama administration’s decision to bail out the auto industry — something Romney was against (though Romney states he was for a managed bankruptcy). Both of the campaigns are using the issue to their benefit. Just look at their statements recently — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, an uber-surrogate for Romney this cycle, has accused Obama of making false claims about the bailout during one of the presidential debates. Portman penned an op-ed piece on the topic this week in a local Ohio paper. And the Romney campaign has gone to great lengths to highlight the case of Delphi, an auto parts plant that shuttered amid the bailout (the Obama campaign disputes the details).


  1. Bryan
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Michael Barone expressed concerns about the oversampling of Dems in many of the Ohio polls last night on Hannity. And as we’ve said, Barone predicted a Romney win seemingly without equivocation. He knows every county and precinct of this country, and he’s got the statistical mind to take every variable into account. If he is saying Romney will win, I am certainly heartened…He confirmed my suspicions about Ohio. And based on the pictures posted on BW (from Defiance, OH, for example), I think OH will have more than an even turnout, perhaps approaching 2004 levels. That should help make up for the vanloads of possibly illegal votes being brought in by the Dems. http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/26/is-voter-fraud-being-committed-in-ohio/

    • margaret
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I felt good after seeing Michael Barone’s comments. I also read Bill Spetrino’s comments. He has lived in Ohio for 50 years and does polling and investment analysis. His column is: “It’s all over but the Crying” about how Romney-Ryan is going to carry Ohio according to his polling.


      • Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Good news, but never heard of this guy and another ding against him is his point 2.

        2) Every poll you survey Romney is winning BIG with independents even PPP which is liberal polling place owned by the Daily Koz

        PPP is certainly biased, but they are not owned by Daily Kos. They do polling for Daily Kos.

    • Dave
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      OK. So we have establishment backing(comcast, ge, time warner, disney, ceo’s, the fed, politicians in europe), a press rotten to the core, Axelrod going on television “we have a small but discernable lead” with polls all over the map, and now this. I am NOT a conspiracy type, really I’m not, except in cases where the duck smells so much like a duck, you ignore it at your own peril. And this smells like a duck and the closer we get the more it walks like a duck and talks like one. And in cases where there’s a lot of $$$ at stake, there’s incentive. For some reason, this president has the backing of a very influencial group of interests and it’s likely because he’s willing to open tax payer purse strings to certain intersts that the average tax payer will end up being responsible for. They started a massive spending campaign four years ago and they are going to make sure they see that through to the end. I’ve watched how they manage things…they’re manipulators (not that all politicians don’t do that), but they’ve taken it to new heights.

      If the opposing team can’t start busing in truckloads of whatever it takes to add voters, I don’t see how this can be overcome.

      BTW, I have a relative that voted for Obama. Loved the idea of Obamacare. This relative recently had a back issue..normally this person is someone who takes GREAT personal responsbility for their health (more than the average person..eats right, tries to get regular exercise and so on). They had an issue with their back one day, caused great pain, clouldn’t move well, or sleep, lots of crying. Dr told them he could take care of it with a 1/2 hour outpatient procedure and send then home. But it was expensive. Applied for Obamacare and got turned down. The point is, it all sounds great on the surface and the costs are not insignificant for it but when a responsible person needs it, there’s a good chance it’s not there for you. Needless to say they are not happy with the Obamacare. I’ve watched people in Canada go through similar issues with their government healthcare. Even though you’re paying for it, you cannot rely on it.

      • Dave
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Basically, presidential elections these days (maybe all elections for that matter these days) are who can get the most valid votes + cheat the best = winner. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how integrety in elections are maintained by both sides but if there’s a way to cheat, you can guarantee probably both sides will try..and if you don’t try unless you blow out your opponent, you’re almost guaranteed to lose.

        If we’re sitting here on election night going….how could Obama have own that state..how?? It totally goes against the #s……you will know the answer likely invoves covert voting fraud and buses full have somaliians — it’s nice to see them progressing from dead voters to live voters…

  2. Jim S.
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Adrian Gray ‏@adrian_gray
    Ohio: In my bellwether counties, GOP is up by 0.1% out of 240,606 cast! In 2008, GOP were down 7.3% in same counties. (per election offices) Anyone know which counties he is using, encouraging if true either way.

    • margaret
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      From an Oct 24th tweet from Adrian Gray:

      OHIO: My bellwether counties (Hamilton, Lake, Montgomery and Stark) went combined 51-49 for Bush in 2004 and 52-46 for Obama in 2008.

      • Zang
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Is this a comparison of early voting vs early voting results, or the early voting results vs the final election results?

      • Jim S.
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        I would imagine final. Given the conventional wisdom that the GOP is stronger on election day, any GOP lead in early/absentee voting(at least in ballots casted) should be good news, let alone the +7.4% swing.

  3. Zang
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Suffolk’s pollster seems to be fairly bearish on Obama’s chances in Ohio…. He’s quoted in the linked article, below:


  4. Zang
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    New WP poll of VA has 0 up 51-47. Their last poll had him up by 8. And like that, VA will

    • jeff
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      VA is going to Romney. WASHPOST in full propoganda mode.

    • Dave
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      WAPOST is usually a dem shill. Just read their articles. Wash Times is more repub.

  5. docsazman
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keith, can you comment on the issue that Ohio does not have party registration. I keep hearing that because the GOP had a competitive primary but Dems did not, the numbers being cited (such as Adrian Gray above) are suspect. Also, this Buzzfeed link with RNC and DNC memos on Ohio you might find interesting. http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/exclusive-obama-and-romney-camapign-ohio-memos-a

    • Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m not well versed on all the Ohio early voting issues. I looked at it closely when it first started and simply felt the information wasn’t substantive enough for me to draw good conclusion based on the available data. Some of those concerns are expressed in your comment. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t blog early voting in Ohio.

    • zang
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Ohio did have competitive local race primaries, including kucinich vs kaptur. There’s no indication Dems were pulling an Operation Chaos either.

    • C-Bus GOP
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The whole issue of Dems masquerading as R’s is BS. I cited the stats on an earlier thread- I’m out at dinner right now and a bit buzzed – but trust me D vs R categorization not an issue

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