Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rural votes added up for Obama in crucial Ohio, but so did R turnout; his vote was same as Kerry's

"Rural tide carried Obama to victory in Ohio," reads the front-page headline in today's Dayton Daily News, over a story by Ken McCall and Jessica Wehrman. But the tide was by far strongest in the state's northwest corner. Compared to 2004, "Eight Ohio counties moved toward Democrats by more than 15 percentage points and all were in the northwest," they note.

Another key territory, they say in a longer story inside the paper, was "the rural, conservative counties surrounding Cincinnati." Those counties got little attention from John Kerry in 2004 but plenty from Obama, who passed up federal funding for his campaign and the spending limit that went with it. His campaign had a statewide effort, and it added up, said Eric Rademacher, co-director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati: "The number of votes on a county-by-county basis may have not seemed like a lot, but when you add them up as a whole across the state, it really makes a big difference." (Read more)

Obama fared less well than Kerry in Ohio's coal counties. In the five in the state's southeastern corner -- Scioto, Jackson, Lawrence, Gallia and Meigs -- Obama lost by larger margins than Kerry did. Obama won Jefferson, Belmont and Monroe counties, bordering West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, but by smaller margins than Kerry. The map with the Dayton paper's story, left (click for larger version with charts), shows Democratic gains in blue and Republican gains in red (or pink, since the GOP had no big gains). The map mirrors the interactive version produced by The New York Times, a great source of information on voting in every U.S. county in the last five presidential elections.

Speaking of the Times, our friend John Harwood writes in the paper's political blog, The Caucus, that Obama got about the same number of votes in Ohio as Kerry: 2.74 million. "Mr. Obama won because John McCain received 300,000 fewer votes than Mr. Bush did," Harwood writes. "That points to a cautionary reminder for Mr. Obama and his team: the election turned partly on what they did right, but also on what Republicans did wrong. And there is no assurance that Democrats will confront a similarly star-crossed opposition in elections to come." (Read more)

No comments: