Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why-O, Why-O, Why-O?

Why is Barack Obama behind in Ohio? This, to me, is the most interesting question of the election at this point. For the last week he has been trending upward nationally and strengthening his position in a number of states, yet Ohio is still in the McCain column. To be fair, Michigan has been a bit of a laggard for him as well, and Pennsylvania has tightened up, but Ohio is the one state in that region where John McCain is ahead, and that seems strange. Republican economic policies have hit OH hard. The Ohio GOP is in disrepute. Dems control the governorship, the legislature, and the US Senate seats. Yet somehow, McCain is ahead there. I freely admit that I thought Obama would have little trouble in Ohio, given the conditions I just stated, so I am thoroughly confused by this state of affairs. This has been a tight state in every Presidential election, with the Republicans in far better shape as a party than they are now, so why is McCain running better than Bush did?
The only answer I can come up with is the primary. While, for the most part, the Democrats have come home – although Obama is running behind where he should be in some states among Dems – they weren’t the only ones who saw the anti-Obama ads during the primary. Perhaps the ton of money poured into OH and PA has had a negative effect among Independents. McCain has led among them in OH, and still does. Perhaps that is the residual effect of Clinton’s poisoning the well for a month. The debates will be Obama’s chance to get these people on his side, or at least even things up among them, which should be sufficient for him to win there. He can win the election without Ohio, but it’s a lot easier if he has it.

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