Why experts say Ohio will decide the presidential race


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Leighann McGivern

Hover over each state to see how many campaign visits each state received from May 29 to Nov. 5. Sources: Associated Press staff reports (campaign stops), Real Clear Politics (party lean). Graphic by Allison Struck and Rebecca Reis.

Yantek said Obama has displayed a slight lead in Ohio because of the large African-American population surrounding Cleveland, as well as support from old conservative Democrats along the state’s eastern border.

“Romney benefits from evangelical support in the more rural areas in the western and southern sections of Ohio,” Yantek said. “Romney’s strength with white working-class voters has been slowed in Ohio because of Obama’s support of the auto bailout and Romney’s lack thereof.”

While Yantek did stress the importance of Ohio in this election, he said it wouldn’t be the only determining factor in who wins the race.

“I would not necessarily say that we will be the deciding factor, but we will be a very critical factor in the success of the winning candidate, particularly Mitt Romney,” Yantek said. “If he does not carry Ohio, it will be extremely difficult for him to get enough Electoral College votes to gain the White House.”

“For Barack Obama, Ohio is important, but it’s not the only state that is in play for Obama,” Cassell said. “Obama can win without Ohio if he wins, say, Florida. Romney needs Florida and Ohio.”

Cassell predicted the presidential race would be just as close if not closer than it has been in previous years. For this reason, he said, every vote matters.

“It matters in very real terms,” Cassell said. “I think if you look at the last several elections that were incredibly close, a relatively small number of votes actually had a huge impact.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].