Today is Election Day, and it is no secret that Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney in the presidential election with odds of winning, according to Nate Silver, that are now greater than 90%. The key to Obama’s overwhelming success is the crown jewel of the swing states, Ohio. According to Real Clear Politics, Obama currently leads Romney by 3 points in the Buckeye state, a surprising turn of events given Ohio’s history as a traditionally Republican leaning state. The difference this time, however, may be the auto bailout.
That is not to say that Romney has not been giving Ohio enough attention. According to the Washington Post, Romney has spent more time campaigning in Ohio, this past year, than in any other state; a sign that the Republican presidential hopeful recognizes the necessity of Ohio for his chances at winning the presidency. And so today, Romney is making a last minute stop in Ohio to appeal to the white working class vote.
As the New York Times FiveThiryEight Blog points out, Ohio may be leaning Democrat because of the auto bailout. According to an interview with Professor Paul A Beck at the Ohio University, the success of the auto bailout has meant stronger support for Obama in the white working class community in Ohio than has been typical throughout the nation. Support that Salon magazine calls a “white working class firewall.”
Obama’s success in the Rust Belt has not always been the case, however. As Joan Walsh points out, Obama was behind in the Rust Belt a year ago. Things changed, however, and it was most likely a result of Mitt Romney’s nomination by the Republican Party. Despite being a native son of Michigan, Romney has been effectively portrayed as anti-bailout and ant-worker. His history of vulture capitalism at Bain Capital and his chilling call to “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” have proved difficult obstacles to surmount as well as easy targets for the Obama campaign:
Not to mention Romney’s cringing difficulty with getting his own facts straight:
Obama’s success in Ohio adds another dimension of significance to the presidential election. If he takes the state today, it will be a powerful affirmation of the government’s role in Ohio’s economic recovery. The state currently boasts a lower rate of unemployment than the rest of the country. Indeed, as the New York Times reports, according to recent polling, “nearly half of all white voters without college degrees here say the economy is improving, and most give Mr. Obama some credit.”
Thus, Ohio remains the state to watch and, according to its count, the country will find out who will be the next president today. But more importantly, the country will know whose economic agenda the people trust.
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