Five reasons why Obama is doing so well in Ohio

Reports indicate that Obama is doing quite well in Ohio right now.  According to Politico:

Two officials intimately involved in the GOP campaign said Ohio leans clearly in Obama’s favor now, with a high single-digit edge, based on their internal tracking numbers of conservative groups. Romney can still win the presidency if he loses Ohio, but it’s extremely difficult.

Obama’s position in the Buckeye state is an important element of where the presidential race now stands.

Why is Obama doing so well in Ohio?

1. Ohio experienced the Republican surge in 2010. But the policies adopted by  Gov. Kasich and Republicans in the state legislature were not popular. When they went after collective bargaining rights, a huge number of signatures were collected for a referendum. Voters overturned the Republican-passed law by a 61-39% landslide. Even more, the 2011 referendum solidified a coalition and helped them organize voting and volunteer lists for 2012.

2. Kasich is not a popular governor. His policies and tone fit the pattern of several other tea party governors (as you can see in my recent, co-authored book on tea party governors.) While his job approval numbers have recovered from the depths to which they descended, the current average is 47%. If only those who approve of Kasich voted for Romney, he would lose the state.

3. Ohio voters see the shenanigans going on to prevent voters from voting. The Republican Secretary of State has tried to block early voting and almost looked ready to defy a court order. He backed down only after the judge ordered him to appear in court but continues to try to stop voters from going to the polls before election day.

4. Ohio is a big auto industry state, with 850,000 auto-related jobs. Obama saved the auto industry, while Romney opposed the rescue plan. Its unemployment rate is 7.2%, below the national average of 8.1%.

5. During the summer, the Obama campaign and its allies devoted resources to ads defining Romney as the Bain CEO who closed manufacturing plants and reaped profits, even as workers lost their medical and pension benefits.

Bonus reasons: The Democratic National Convention, with its powerful speeches and its multiple invocations of the auto bailout, contributed to an Obama surge. Clinton’s support helps Obama. Both Clinton and Biden, who are and will be actively campaigning in Ohio, reach white working-class voters.

George W. Bush’s narrow win of Ohio in 2004, with 50.81% of the vote, ensured him re-election. Obama won the state with 51.38%. Right now it looks like Obama is likely to prevail again in the Buckeye state.

Update: Late on September 9, Public Policy Polling put out an Ohio poll, the first public poll of the state since the end of the party conventions. It shows the race with Obama 50%-Romney 45%. As Politico notes:

This is the widest lead Obama has had there in PPP, a Democratic polling firm, since May, and comports with recent private polling on both sides. Romney can catch up but a lot has to happen, if the numbers are correct, in a state where the auto bailout has helped Obama and where the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action has been surgically airing Bain ads for months.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.