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Ohio becomes ground central in new tight Prez race

In the last two weeks, a significant Clinton lead has nearly vanished, especially in key swing states such as Ohio, Nevada, and Florida. What happened?

 

A Presidential race will have many up and downs, but many observers cite Clinton's post-convention bounce, plus Trump's inability to stay focused, as reasons Clinton opened up a late August lead. But in mid-September, alarm bells are ringing in Dem camps. Trump has become less combative with fellow Republicans (and fellow Americans like the Khan family), and has put more time into policy outlines and scripted speeches. Clinton still has greater detail in her policy outlines, but has had unforced errors such as calling many Americans "deplorable," which to some mirror the infamous 2012 Mitt Romney comment about 47% of Americans being "entitled."  (Her health scare on 9/11 didn't help her cause in the near term either.)

 

And all this before we have had one debate between the two.

 

But back to the key states this fall. Ohio has voted for the Presidential winner every time since...1964.  It is a classic bellwether of how Americans as a whole view the direction of their nation, and the relative worth of the candidates. On August 27, Clinton had a 45 to 40 percent lead in Ohio. Today, the race is essentially tied.

 

In response, according to The Hill, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are scheduled to canvas the state this weekend for the Clinton campaign. This is interesting, because it suggests that Clinton needs to boost turnout among core Dems, rather than looking for independent voters in the Buckeye State.  It also suggests her camp is concerned about underperforming among key Dem constituencies (young, Hispanic, and African-American households) relative to the President in 2008 and 2012.

 

To be clear: both major candidates still have relatively high negatives. And there is still lots of time, and ups and downs, before election day.

 

But to know what the US is thinking as a whole, keep Ohio in mind at all times.