Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Ohio is not a swing state

I wrote this paragraph on Ohio for NRO’s Battlegrounders:

"This is a brief response and note to Kathryn’s bringing to our attention Jay Costs points (below). I also think that Bush is doing much better in Ohio than the MSM gives him credit for; the MSM are spinning. And this explains why Bush was able to stay away from the state for ten days; he has a chance to take Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, and still hold Ohio. Rove isn’t an idiot and they haven’t given up on Ohio. Jay mentions many good reasons for thinking this and he is essentially correct. I want to emphasize a few things, only some of which he mentions. First, as he mentions, Ohio is very much of a GOP state, it is not a swing state; the Democratic party is hardly to be found; and there is no interesting state-wide Demo candidate running for any position that in any way will help Kerry; Voinovich will be re-elected with about 63% of the vote. Second, the social-moral issues (gay marriage, abortion) and security concerns have a huge impact in Ohio, especially among women and African-Americans. This is even reflected in nation-wide polls. Kerry cannot break even with Bush with female voters; he needs to get at least 10% more of them than Bush and Bush will pick up about 13% of the black vote. Third, only fools will think that the roughly 800,000 newly registered voters are all going for Kerry; they will end up breaking about 50-50; pay attention to the large number of voters the GOP has registered, these guys have not been napping for the last five months; there are new voters in rural counties too, they’re not all up in Cuyahoga County. Fourth, Bush will get a much larger percentage of Independents than some folks think. Fifth, there is no enthusiasm for Kerry, even among his supporters. Nobody likes this guy, and his wife seems to justify the worst tendencies of the French Revolution; it is impossible for people to envision her in the White House as first lady. I will predict that Bush will win the state by one or two points less than "Issue 1" (no gay marriage) will pass with: "Issue 1" will pass by about 6%, and Bush will take Ohio by 4 or 5 percent. It is my considered opinion that the Democrats and the Kerry campaign are extremely desperate in Ohio. And I understand why."

Discussions - 13 Comments

I think this analysis is exactly right, and I have been saying similar things for more than a year. Why was Ohio chosen by the media as a "battleground state"? Republicans hold every statewide office, have near super-majorities in both houses, and are not running anybodyin any major race that is likely to change these dynamics. Fingerhut is a token candidate at best, and the only well-known Democrat in the state, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, is known only for running her city into the ground.

Nice try, guys. You have ben able to pretend that Ohio is up for grabs for a long time. You might even make it look close, with all of the fraudulent "Mary Poppins" absentee ballots you have filled out. But you will not win.

Just wondering, Peter, how you know that "nobody likes" Kerry. As for the rest of the post -- beware of believing your own spin. Many (but not all) of the same things that you cite should have applied in Pennsylvania as well, but PA is now pretty solidly behind Kerry.

The CITIES of Pennsylvania are solidly behind Kerry. The majority of counties in Pennsylvania are solidly Republican. We just have two large cities that sway the rest of the state. In the 2000 election, if you looked at the county by county vote in PA, there was much more red than blue. I hardly call that soldily holding a state.

Like Lori says about PA, Michigan is also "blue" in its cities: Detroit and Flint. Most counties are "red." Being a transplant from Ohio, this fact is kind of aggravating!

In response to Brett, though, I don’t think we should ignore a major reason why PA went for Gore, but Ohio did not: race-mongering. Gore explicitly campaigned in black churches in Philly on the basis that Bush would nominate pro-slavery judges. On the day before the election, he told black churhces that Bush would nominate "originalist" judges, and emphasized that the Constitution "originally" had slavery in it.

Debate the merits of originalism if you want, but there is a huge disconnect here. It is despicable to imply that judges like Clarence Thomas support slavery. This was a huge part of Gore’s latter-day campaigning, and it had a clear effect that turned PA Democratic by a narrow margin that it seems to remain at to this day. The Democratic Party should be ashamed.

This analysis seems to be spot on. For a more extensive analysis along these line (statistics galore), see (posted Oct 26)

Not to plug up your comment board, but I still don’t get the post. Two of the points that Peter makes are as follows:

National-level trends lead to his prediction of a Bush win (i.e., his message about security and moral issues is going to swing folks in Ohio), and "nobody likes Kerry." But presumably those national-level trends should hold everywhere -- or are Ohio women and African-Americans particularly susceptible to Bush campaign ads? And are Ohioans particularly unenthusiastic about Kerry, in his view? Both arguments strain credibility, and the second is demonstrably false (lots of people are enthusiastic about Kerry, including your truly).

So the main point breaks down to the claim that there are a lot of Republican officials at other layers of government. (or, presumably, that Republican party ID is high there), and that new registrations will split 50-50. On the second: news reports tell a different story, but I suppose we’ll have empirical confirmation soon enough.

First off, I am not "The Lamb" poster.

Secondly, it was Karl Rove who coined the swinging emphasis on, in his own words, "Ohio, Ohio, Ohio." That said, Bush made his case in Ohio about a gazzillion times, in person (I saw him personally before a rancous crowd in Chillicothe. I’ve heard he’s now moved on, to less secure pastures.

I think we all suffer from the Big City syndrome of "government is for my hand out". If you took the East side of Portland out of the equation, Bush would win 33 or Oregon’s 36 counties.

..what this will come down to who gets the vote out..

As a native buckeye I strongly believe President Bush will easily carry Ohio. Here’s why:
He will receive an larger share than he received in 2000 from the following voter groups.
1. Blacks
2. Hispanics
3. Women
4. Jews
5. Catholics
6. Evangelicals
In addition, the Republican GOTV is light years better than 2000. It all adds up to 369 EVs for Bush, 169 EVs for Kerry, with a 54% to 45% advantage for Bush in the popular vote. That’s nationally of course, but Ohio won’t be far behind.

I want to believe that Ohio is going for Bush. What do you make of the Los Angeles Times poll putting Kerry ahead by 6?

I think what Peter means when he says that "nobody likes Kerry" is that, by and large, people do not find Kerry to be the kind of person that they would befriend. They may like certain policies that he supports, perhaps even enthusiastically, but I have heard very few people who are voting for Kerry because he is likable. Frankly, he isn’t.

It boils down to one of Kerry’s biggest problems, namely, many people who are voting for him are not really voting for him so much as they are voting against Bush. Even if Kerry manages to win (something that I think most analyses of the electoral map show to be unlikely), he will have a hard time governing when even the people who voted for him are not really his supporters in any serious way.

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