This week, while covering the Republican National convention from Tampa, we focus on the state of Ohio and the critical win there either candidate most likely must receive to win the 2012 election. We’ve put together a primer on why this state has so much importance in 2012 and its history within national politics.
The demographics of Ohioans in many respects closely reflect that of the country as a whole. Criteria known to influence voting, such as age, race, or gender happen to be representative of national statistics within Ohio. Coupled with a large number of electoral college votes and a consistently evenly split voting electorate, Ohio leads the country in pundit and candidate interest alike.
Here are some things to know about Ohio and its potential effect on the 2012 election race:
- No Republican candidate has won the presidency without carrying Ohio since the election of Abraham Lincoln.
- From the election of 1904 through that of 2004, the candidate who won Ohio, won the presidency 24 out of 26 times.
- In 2008, The Obama + Biden ticket won the state’s electoral college votes by 5 points.
- The state is split nearly evenly between registered Democrats and Republicans, with a strong number of independent voters.
- Because Ohio is such a critical battle ground in the 2012 election, the voting laws there have become political fodder. The Obama Administration has challenged a new law that will “cut three days from the early-voting period for everyone, except members of the armed forces and Ohioans living overseas.”
- Ad spends by both candidates this year have already reached $19.8 million in Ohio, so far.
- One out of eight jobs in Ohio is linked to the auto industry, according to Reuters.
- The unemployment rate in Ohio did not increase in the last jobs report, though it did in every other battleground state.
- The “gender gap” plays a large role in Ohio presidential politics. As of this writing, polls indicate nearly an identical bump for Romney and Obama in men and women, respectively.