Friday, June 22, 2012

Life in a Swing State: Shale Gas Boom Wild Card

The oil and gas shale play in Eastern Ohio is an issue upon which both presidential candidates already know to pay attention.  It may be more important than they, even, realize.

They gotta know it's a swing or "push" issue in the swing state of Ohio.  I, though, really put the issue up there as one of the top three things that could put one candidate over another in the race.  That could be the decisive issue since Ohio is so crucial.

Here are my observations.

Though it's not Ohio's most populous area, Eastern Ohio has enough votes, though, to still push the electoral votes one way or another in the state.

In 2008, then-candidate Obama got a boost in the Eastern Ohio area from former Governor Strickland.  Strickland was popular in that region as much of it was his former Congressional District too.  No one was talking about shale gas then either.  That's going to be a tougher sell this time around.

The Keystone Pipeline issue looms large too.  This region has seen what government regulation and politics can do to kill an economy for generations.  This is a region of Ohio that saw the coal industry, and the electric power generation industry along with it, take a nose dive thanks to regulation alone.

This area is lifting all of Ohio right now.  Take the mini-boom and the better feelings of this region about their economic future out of the equation, and Ohio is not looking so good economically. 

Though I think it's a flip of the coin in the rest of Ohio whether the President gets credit or the Governor gets credit for Ohio's fortunes rising, I believe it tilts considerably more the Governor's way in this Eastern Ohio region.  Governor Kasich's extraordinary attention to the shale gas issue clearly gives much more credit for the positive economic benefits than President Obama would get in this region.

There you go.  More observations from life in a swing state.

This is one in a series on Life In A Swing State aimed at pushing Ohio's Swing State status in the state's favor just a little bit.

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