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Posted by on Apr 23, 2008 in Politics | 6 comments

Ohiovania and Pennsylhio

I’ve spent considerable time in Ohio. In a past life, two of my largest clients were headquarted in the western half of the state. I also served for awhile as an interim GM for an office of my former employer in Ohio’s northeast quadrant. One of the things I remember most about my time there was the irrational animosity many Ohioans felt for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As much as that juggernaut of a football team was loved in Western Pennsylvania, it was hated in Ohio, and the closer to Cleveland you got, the stronger the hate grew.

Clearly, from last night’s primary results, the similarities of the people of Ohio and Pennsylvania far outweigh their divergent football loyalties. Consider this chart, courtesy of RCP:

RCP’s Jay Cost summarized it well: “… we can see why Pennsylvania and Ohio produced similar results in the aggregate. Clinton did roughly as well these groups in both states. Obama, for his part, improved here and there on her best Ohio groups. For instance, he trimmed her lead among white men. However, Clinton minimized this by doing slightly better with some of Obama’s best groups – like, for instance, the college educated. Overall, it added up to a roughly similar result.”

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    May I remind you that both Indiana and Kentucky, with upcoming primaries, are generally more conservative than Ohio and Pennsylvania?

  • pyronite

    They’re not older, though. 😛

    Clinton will take Kentucky handily and I wager that Obama will have a slight edge in Indiana.

  • DLS

    Pete — the Economist has an article about Pennsylvania that includes comparison and contrast with Ohio. Both states are large and if they became one state, the result would rival California in size.

    Here’s the Economist article.

    http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11017667

  • tjproudamerican

    I wonder about the role race plays. Obviously, with Obama taking 92% of the African-American vote, the issue cuts both ways, but is it possible that some of Hillary’s bedrock support comes from older voters who grew up when even polite people thought there were obviously certain things that blacks couldn’t do?

    I have heard many people make racist remarks in my life. A student of mine, a 19 year old college young woman, April, 2008!!!! told me that she hates when “People tease her” about being Jewish by making jokes about “The Holocaust” and her “Being cheap”.

    We act as if people do not have prejudices, and nobody wants to say they do, but could it be that there is a much higher group of people who won’t listen to, or vote for, Senator Obama because he is black than the group that won’t vote for Hillary because she is a woman?

    Why would Gun Owners flock to Hillary? If she is the candidate would PA voters favor her over McCain?

    It would be nice if we could explore these issues honestly.

  • pacatrue

    tj, it’s really not clear to me on how views on race are affecting voters. I took a look at the polling data for Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. They typically have two questions which are something like: “In casting your voted today, was the race/gender of the candidate important?” In all three states, it was about 20% each time who said that race or gender was important to their vote. In all three states, voters who thought gender was important broke for Clinton. Usually 60/40, but actually 70/30 in PA. Things are more complicated for race.

    In TX, voters who thought the race of the candidate was important actually split 50/50 between Clinton and Obama. However, in both OH and PA, race-is-important voters broke for Clinton, again at about 60/40. It’s not clear what’s going on. Do white voters in PA and OH think more along racial lines, while voters in TX do not? Possible, but Texas isn’t exactly famed for its racial harmony. Another possibility is that people are thinking about the same in all three states, it’s just that the demographics make it show in PA and OH, but not in TX. For instance, since African-American voters are going 80-90% for Obama, they would appear to be voting partially due to the candidate’s race. Some whites in all states might be doing the same. There are simply more black voters in TX than in both OH and PA, and so the racially-motivated voting just balanced out in TX, while it did not in the other states. The Democratic voters in TX are only 50% of the electorate (about 20% black, 30% Latino), while it’s 75 – 80% in PA and OH.

    There’s also a possibility that there’s no cause/effect relationship between racial views and votes, just a correlation. The cause/effect hypothesis is obvious, and it’s pseudo-assumed in my stuff above. Another possibility is that more people who, for instance, worry about the economy also think the race of the candidate is important, but they voted for economic issues, not race ones. The two ideas just happen to correlate.

    Final thought: I would have to assume that there could be many thousands of voters who are more comfortable with a male president, just as there appear to be many thousands of voters more comfortable with a white president. But, oddly, I haven’t seen it show up yet in the polling data. If people think gender is important, the majority go for Clinton.

  • DLS

    “I wonder about the role race plays. Obviously, with Obama taking 92% of the African-American vote, the issue cuts both ways, but is it possible that some of Hillary’s bedrock support comes from older voters who grew up when even polite people thought there were obviously certain things that blacks couldn’t do?”

    1. Black Americans are probably the most loyal or robotic Democratic voters, depending on how you view that phenomenon — into the nineties per cent.

    2. If you are thinking of black American voters who are older and favoring Hillary Clinton, I would suspect they favor her for the same reason white Americans who are older are favoring her: because she is older and has more experience (or at least more notoriety).

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