“No Republican has ever been elected without covering Ohio,” presidential historian Richard Norton Smith said on the NewsHour.
The Obama win means an ever-narrowing path to victory for McCain.
“If he loses another of the big ones — if he loses Florida or Indiana — it becomes very hard for him,” New York Times columnist David Brooks said on the NewsHour.
Ohio has backed the presidential winner in every election since 1964.
NPR’s David Greene, reporting from Columbus, Ohio, said that the Obama campaign attributes the victory to the campaign’s strong Get -Out-the-Vote ground effort in the state.
The state voted for President Bush twice, but Democrats have recently been on the upswing in Ohio. In 2006, Gov. Ted Strickland won by 24 percentage points, and Sen. Sherrod Brown easily unseated Republican Mike DeWine.
Obama did poorly in Ohio’s democratic primary, losing all but five of the states 88 counties, and losing the overall vote by 10 percent to Sen. Hillary Clinton.
But eventually most of those voters decided to support Obama, according to Mike Thompson, news director of WOSU in Columbus.
“Ohio Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton back in the March primary, 82 percent of those Hillary Democrats here in Ohio support Barack Obama.,” Thompson said on the NewsHour. “Back in August the Columbus Dispatch did a poll that said only 50 percent of Hillary supporters were supporting Barack Obama. So a lot of those folks have come home to the Democratic party and Barack Obama.”
Polls showed a tight race in the state, with Obama slightly ahead in the end — RealClearPolitics.com had him up 2.5 points in the final week of the campaign.