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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Five Ohios

Posted by DavidNYC

Ohio. It's the mother of all swing states - and did you know that there are actually five of them? At least, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which is doing a summer-long series of articles on each region of the state. The first is on rural Appalachia, the poorest and least-educated part of Ohio.

But interestingly, despite a pedigree that might scream "Republican!" to some, Appalachia is a pretty swingy area: It delivered quite a few votes for Clinton both times around, though it mostly flipped to Bush in 2000. Economic issues are big here, given that the region mostly revolves around a dying manufacturing base, and Bush has gotten poor marks here on this front. (Only heavily Democratic Cleveland scores him worse.) The unsurprising flip-side is that the region is decidedly God-fearing, and morals are a close second to the economy here.

I think Kerry & Edwards have some good advantages over Gore-Lieberman, though. For one, John Kerry actually looks pretty comfortable holding a hunting rifle - CW says that Gore got killed on the guns issue here, much as he did in West Virginia. (And "up to 30%" of the men in the area are veterns, just like Kerry.)

Perhaps more importantly, Edwards' rural background will let him connect with voters in this region in a way that no one on the 2000 ticket could. And above all, the economy is still in the tank, and whatever signs of life it's showing are almost certainly not in evidence in Appalachia.

Is Appalachia the key to winning Ohio? I honestly don't know enough to say - but if it is, then this piece makes me think we have a fighting chance at carrying the region, and the state. I eagerly await the rest of the articles in this series. I like the style so far: Yes, there are a lot of man-on-the-street quotes, but the authors weave in useful stats, so the anecdotes actually wind up telling a meaningful story.

And because I can't resist a good map, I leave you with this big boy:

Five Ohios

(Thanks to Wes F.)

Posted at 12:42 AM in Ohio | Technorati


That is some great info on what is probably the most important state in 2004. If you can make it in Ohio, you can make it almost anywhere.

Posted by: Chris Bowers at July 14, 2004 02:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment