Ohio’s status as a swing state seems no longer

Kaitlyn Finchler Reporter

With the results of the 2020 election still fresh in everyone’s mind, some have questioned if Ohio is still prevalent as a swing state or will still be a factor in future elections. No candidate has won the presidency since John F. Kennedy in 1960 without winning Ohio, until now. 

President-elect Joe Biden received 306 electoral votes, pushing him toward the 2020 win. Although votes are still being counted, there is a small margin that President Trump could rise through and defeat.

Associate political science professor Michael Ensley said that Ohio’s role in elections will continue to stay Republican and possibly turn in this direction more.

“I don’t anticipate that Ohio will be a swing, sort of bellwether state that it has been in the past,” Ensley said. “I would assume that it would solidify if not even move more in the Republican direction, at least for the foreseeable future.”

Ensley also said the younger generation of Ohio residents tend to move out of the state at the given opportunity, leaving the older, typically more Republican generations to stay.

“The population of Ohio overall is not growing, I think to the extent that there’s people immigrating out of Ohio that tends to probably be the younger individuals and so those who are left behind tend to be a bit more conservative and lean in a Republican direction,” Ensley said. “I think overall, you see that in combination with the more populous direction of the Republican party, reflected in Donald Trump that Ohio is moving in a Republican direction for those two reasons.”

Logistically speaking, the next two states following Ohio in the lead as a swing state are Florida and Iowa. However, this is not the case overall, as Iowa did not particularly help Biden in this election.

“I certainly would see Florida in that regard; it will continue to be a pivotal state in the electoral college,” Ensley said. “I don’t see that so for Iowa. I say that for Florida first of all because of its size and second because of the diversity and dynamics involved in the state.”

Senior American Sign Language major and Kent State College Republicans President Ashley Caldwell said she believes this election showed right off the bat that Ohio would not be a key factor.

“In the middle of the (election) night I knew (Trump) was going to lose, just like with Michigan and Wisconsin flipping I kind of called defeat there,” Caldwell said. “It happens, I’m proud of President-elect Biden, it’s a good win for them, I’m not a sore loser about it, it happens. It was a good fight, we did what we could and I’m proud of our team and the Republicans who put all of their effort to get in there.”

Pennsylvania showed that they were a deciding factor in the election and ended up being a win for Biden. Kent State College Democrats Programming Director and junior political science major Devin is a Pennsylvania resident who said she felt relieved and hopeful after seeing that Pennsylvania turned blue.

“It was nerve-wracking knowing how important Pennsylvania was in this election,” Douglass said. “I remember being so disappointed when Pennsylvania went red in 2016 and I did not want the same thing to happen this year. Luckily it didn’t which, again, was such a relief.”

The key states in this election were Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. Ensley said these states driving the front lines of the election puts more emphasis on the fact that Ohio has lost its bellwether power.

“I would say Ohio used to be what we call the ‘bellwether,’ meaning exactly that, whoever won Ohio won the presidency,” Ensley said. “Obviously this year it looks like that’s not going to be the case. I think it points to broader changes in American politics but also about the changing nature of the Republican party.”

Kaitlyn Finchler is the photo editor. Contact her at [email protected]


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.