Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life In A Swing State: Tidbits From Tuesday

Just a few thoughts on the Presidential election.  My perspective is as a person who has worked on four statewide campaigns and has been to all 88 Ohio counties at least five times.  I know Ohio.

Ohio was not the swing state.  Even if President Obama had lost Ohio, he still would have won reelection.  Personally, I don't see the upside of being a swing state anymore and I think it's time we stop valuing it.  I wish we could drop our status.

I wish Ohio was not the deciding state, though.  Timing's everything.  The fact that Obama got declared the victor when Ohio got called at 11:15 does not bode well for Ohio's chances of being able to claim it no longer deserves battleground status.

Trust the Columbus Dispatch poll.  The Dispatch predicted a 2-point margin of victory for Obama.  It was right.  Push come to shove, I'll bet on the Dispatch poll from the Sunday before the election every time.

Nationally, it was urban vs. rural.  The U.S. map shows it and the individual state maps show it too.  Our country is divided, most of all, on the demographics of urban areas versus suburban areas.

In Ohio, it was urban vs. suburban and rural too.  The divide in Ohio was huge.  Ohio was a geographic sea of suburban and rural red with a few blue urban islands.  I'm not sure this bodes well for our chances to see a broad manufacturing policy and growth policies that aren't urban-slanted out of Washington.

Romney did everything right to win Ohio except in two places--Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties. I was watching my bellwether places--Stark County and Southeast Ohio. Those are places that, when a Republican wins them, it's a sign of statewide victory. Romney won both, but still lost Ohio. The poor showing in television-dominated markets of Cincinnati and Cleveland turned the whole state.

Reaching the masses in Cleveland still matters.  Just 20 short years ago the axiom was that a statewide Republican candidate in Ohio couldn't lose Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is, by more than 100,000 votes and expect to win.  Though that has moderated over the years, Romney lost it by more than 236,000. 

Moderate, pragmatic stances are the new order.  You don't win Cuyahoga County by being the most conservative candidate around.  Why fight immigration in a City with an immigrant heritage?  A candidate has to be more moderate and prove to be more pragmatic on practical issues.  There's lessons there if someone is paying attention.

Thanks for reading.

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