POWELL, Ohio — On November 6, the election could come down to who wins Ohio. While there are paths for both candidates with and without Ohio, if history plays a role then Mitt Romney???s road to the White House runs straight through and all around Ohio.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls in Ohio, Romney was behind Obama 49 percent to 44 percent at the beginning of October. After the first debate, when Ohioans could see Mitt Romney without the biased mainstream media filter, he narrowed the gap to a 1 percentage point deficit. As of today, the margin is 2 percentage points, with Obama leading within the margin of error. The polls used in these averages are of likely voters; however, some of the polls used in the average oversample Democrats because they are based on the 2008 turnout models. From a practical perspective, Romney and Obama are tied in the state of Ohio.
President Obama has said that the auto bailouts will carry him to victory in this state. When he pontificates on his decision to save the auto industry, he often says that ???1 in 8 Ohioans are connected to the auto industry,??? implying that 1 in 8 Ohioans benefited from the auto bailout. Obama fails to recognize that Ohio???s auto employers include Honda and Ford Motor Co. — companies that were not impacted by the bailouts. The industry is important in Ohio, of course; however, Obama is over-simplifying the matter as he claims responsibility for the achievement.
Ohio???s unemployment rate peaked in July 2009 at 10.6 percent — during President Obama???s first year in office. It began to decline in 2010, but the majority of the decrease happened in 2011 and 2012 under a Republican governor and legislature that passed pro-business, pro-growth reforms. The unemployment numbers are the foundation necessary to debunk the president???s assertion that he himself saved Ohio.
Sara Marie Brenner joins Managing Editor Adam Tragone to discuss the situation in Ohio and the Romney campaign’s strategy in the battleground state:
Auto industry turnaround
The majority of the turnaround in Ohio did not begin until Obama???s third year in office. That year, 2011, also coincides with the same year that Republican Governor John Kasich took office. The Ohio House was taken over by Republicans with a strong majority, and the GOP retained control in the Ohio Senate. Republicans won all statewide offices. From there, the reforms began, and Ohio saw a marked improvement in its economy and job numbers swiftly thereafter.
On October 13, Public Policy Polling released data from an online national poll stating that 19 percent of people had already voted, and that they were voting heavily for Obama — 76-24 percent. In an email to Team Ohio on Tuesday Oct. 16, Romney???s Political Director, Rich Beeson, explains these misleading numbers. ???Many of the Democratic ballots are from high propensity voters who would almost certainly be voting on Election Day ??? meaning that President Obama is cannibalizing his turnout on November 6th.??? According to Beeson, ???Governor Romney???s early voting effort has been, and will continue to be, focused on low propensity voters, which means his Election Day turnout will not be negatively impacted by the early vote program.??? Beeson states that only 6 percent of early voting has occurred thus far, meaning that 94 percent of all early votes have not even been cast to date. Even if the 76 percent to 24 percent margin were accepted, that margin is only within 6 percent of the early voting population.
Romney???s big crowds
The Columbus Dispatch reported on October 13 that Romney is seeing crowds of up to 12,000 people in Ohio. These are Obama-sized crowds that Romney had not seen before the first debate, except in rare circumstances. I attended a Romney event with Gov. Chris Christie in my home county last Thursday, October 11. Following the event, I wrote that ???Delaware, Ohio is an important stop for the Romney campaign because it is quintessential middle America. The downtown is home to a liberal university, and is mainly Democrat. The neighborhoods on the out-skirts of the city are newer, middle class and lean Republican.??? The large turnout for this event, which transpired with little publicity or advance notice, gives credence to the belief that Romney truly is on the rise in Ohio.
In Ohio, there is one remaining obstacle to the reforms we need to continue this state???s success — the extremely liberal Senator Sherrod Brown. While Ohio State Treasurer and Republican nominee Josh Mandel trails slightly in the polls, he has a strong campaign that could be victorious on Election Day. With a Romney victory, the down-ticket impact could be positive for Mandel.
When we go door to door, most independents are breaking for Romney. In a state where the independent or ???swing??? voter is so vital, their having the opportunity to see Mitt Romney for who he really is in the debates has been an imperative factor in the change in this state. The in-person ground game will continue in the weeks to come. With a strong showing for the remainder of the campaign, Romney can carry Ohio and the Electoral College on November 6.