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Is Ohio still a swing state?

Polls show President Trump and fmr. V.P. Joe Biden in a tight race, even as the Buckeye State leans further right.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:16 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Polls show a dead heat in Ohio as former V.P. Joe Biden challenges President Donald Trump for the White House.

Over the last 60 years, the presidential candidate who won Ohio on election day won the White House. But, even if that streak holds this year, it’s not expected to last forever.

From the top of the ticket, to the bottom, with each recent cycle, Republicans swing more Ohio voters to their side.

“There’s no doubt that Ohio is getting increasingly more difficult for Democrats to win,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Brown first entered the U.S. Senate in 2007, a good year for Buckeye State Democrats. The party held five of the state’s eight statewide elected positions; now, they only hold one, Brown’s perch in Washington.

Despite recent struggles, Brown argues the state’s working class will be in search of a new deal this year - at least when it comes to the presidency. “I think Joe Biden’s not just going to compete in Ohio,” he said, " he’s going to win in Ohio.”

President Donald Trump won Ohio by eight points in 2016 even as Hillary Clinton topped him by more than three-million votes nationwide. But this year, polling averages from sites like Real Clear Politics suggest a toss-up.

Liz Harrington, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said the president can count on Ohio. “We don’t think the public polls are very accurate, especially when it comes to the state of Ohio,” she said in a recent interview.

Harrington shrugged off former Governor John Kasich’s (R-Ohio) endorsement of Democratic Nominee Joe Biden and argues massive ad buys in the Buckeye State are not signs of a struggling Trump campaign.

“We think we’re going to win even larger,” suggesting the campaign is looking to run-up the score.

Georgetown Political Science Professor Mark Rom isn’t convinced. “Trump’s in trouble,” he saidm “he should have this state locked down.”

Rom, argues Ohio is a red state now. He said the tight race, may reflect more about the challenger than the president’s standing within his own party. Rom said both candidates appeal to working class, older white votes, and he’s not sure another candidate would be close to Trump in the polls, “because of [Biden’s] personal attributes and much more so than as a representative of the Democratic party.”

Elections experts like Rom said winning Ohio is far more important for President Trump than it is for Biden. That’s because, they argue, if the president is in a close race there, Biden is likely to pick up ‘true swing states’ like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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