Thousands upon thousands of volunteers and activists have been descending on Ohio during the presidential contest, where according to the latest poll, President Obama leads by two points. Most prognosticators will tell you it is because without the state Romney cannot win, and Obama has a huge base of supporters as a result of the auto bailouts. With 18 electoral votes, it is one of the larger prizes remaining among the battleground states, and it has a competitive Senate race between incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) and Josh Mandel (R) that Republicans will likely have to pick up in order to regain a majority in the upper chamber. The sheer amount of resources being poured into Ohio is mind-boggling. The real question is, what do the voters see on the ground?
Salli Jones is one such voter, and she's exactly the type of voter that the campaigns are targeting. Although she's admittedly a left-of-center leaner, she says she's undecided in this election in both the presidential and senate races here. She says the overabundance of negative campaigning has been off-putting, and she may be speaking for most Ohioans. Bloomberg reports that over 58,000 presidential campaign ads have ran in Ohio over the last month, and the impact on voter preferences has been questionable.
Jones also noted the quality of canvassers has been less that phenomenal, too:
"[The canvasser] initially addressed me by the wrong name. I pointed out my correct name and address on his sheet. After a long pause, he asked me the questions about the campaign, candidate support, etc. I identified myself as undecided. He marked me as (not exactly as worded on the sheet) leaning towards Romney and entered my answers next to a different name/address. I pointed out these errors, and he merely handed me some campaign literature without discussing anything about the campaign, said thanks and left."
At some point, the campaigning becomes overkill, and it appears that Ohio might be a victim of this. Quantity appears to be killing quality. Nonetheless, Obama continues to lead Romney in the polls according to Real Clear Politics. However, some interesting early voting numbers are also suggesting the Romney machine might be doing what is necessary to win the state's electoral votes. For her part, Jones says in her neck of the woods, Romney and Brown have slight edges in their respective contests.
Any prediction in Ohio is as likely to be wrong as it is right, but look for Romney to just edge out Obama by a meager margin — no more than 2%, but likely closer to 1%.
Editor's Note: Each day, Rob Lee will provide analysis of key swing states leading up to the election. Each of these states are identified as swing states by Real Clear Politics. In addition to the presidential contest, each state also offers an array of competitive Senate and House races that will influence the agenda of the president, whoever emerges victorious next week. Tune back in tomorrow as Wisconsin is evaluated.