According to a poll released yesterday by the Columbus Dispatch, Mitt Romney trails President Barack Obama in Ohio by 9%, 51% to 42%.
The Dispatch‘s polls echo results from other recently released polls that put Obama ahead by varying amounts — anywhere from 8% by theWashington Post to4% by Public Policy Polling to 7% by Fox News.
In fact, Real Clear Politics flipped Ohio from being a toss-up state in their electoral map to leaning Obama last week. InTrade, which lets people wager on the results of elections (among other things) has seen the percentage likelihood that Obama will be re-elected increase in one month from just over 55% to just under 75%.
What makes Ohio so important? It isn’t just a swing state, it’s a swing state with a significant number of electoral votes, and an electorate that is the very definition of a “purple state.”
Ohio has an almost even balance between rural dwellers who typically vote Republican and residents in and around cities such as Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron who vote Democratic. Cincinnati is almost a microcosm of Ohio, located in the southwest of the state near otherwise rural and Republican counties in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. In fact, Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, typically votes Republican but went for Obama in 2008.
Right now, the New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog gives Obama a 86.1% chance of winning Ohio. It also gives a 36.1% chance that the electoral votes cast by Ohio will be the deciding votes for the election, a higher percentage than any other state. The next most likely kingmaker state? Virginia, with a 15% chance of being the tipping point.
All that said, Obama’s lead in Ohio polls, coupled with how essential the state is to this election, make Romney’s chances of pulling off a victory in November seem more and more unlikely with each passing day.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
Want to share your own views on money, politics and the 2012 elections? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we might reprint your views in our InvestorPolitics blog! Please include your name, city and state of residence. All letters submitted to this address will be considered for publication.