What Ohio Tells Us About the Obama Victory
Fox News and NPR have called Ohio for Senator Obama. If that holds true, as I’m sure it will, the race is over. Back in January, 2007, I advocated having Ohio put at the very beginning of the primary process. That advocacy was under-girded by two key facts:
* There have been 51 presidential elections since 1804. Ohio has voted with the winner 43 times, an unmatched predictor of electoral success, an 84.3% success rate. Since 1960, that rate goes to 92% and since 1972, when the parties began instituting their post-Watergate reforms, the number is 100%! The well-worn cliche is, “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” That’s why in the late-1800s, so many successful major party nominees were from Ohio. (Not all were very successful Presidents, however.) It’s why even today, candidates spend so much time, money, and effort here.
* Ohio is far more urbanized than the rest of the country, with 277.3 people per square mile, compared with 79.6 people for the country as a whole. But in other categories, Ohio well matches the rest of the country. Just look at the most recent numbers from the US Census Bureau. Ohio is far more representative of the country and is thus far likelier to produce candidates that will elicit enthusiasm from the country than any other state. Industry, service companies, education and research, and agriculture are all well-represented in the state. Columbus, the state’s capital and largest city, has long been considered an ideal place to test market products and services because it’s so reflective of the country as a whole.
As Ohio goes, so goes the nation almost always. With this swing state, so representative of the nation at large, in the Obama column, his victory is going to be of nearly Rooseveltian proportions today. The Illinois senator is being given a huge and unassailable mandate for governance by voters in the Buckeye State and the entire country.
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