The Corner

Ohio

While it’s true that Mitt Romney can win without Ohio, it’s extremely difficult — and it’s not an extremely likely scenario that he will be the first Republican to lose Ohio but to win the presidency. So it’s good news for his campaign that a Public Policy Polling poll out today showed a smaller gap between him and President Obama than other recent polls have, although Obama remains ahead by 4 points, 49 percent to 45 percent. The partisan breakdown is 41 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican, and 23 percent independent. (That makes the electorate less favorable to Obama than it was in 2008, when Democrats had an 8-point advantage over Republicans.) 

A Columbus Dispatch poll shows Obama at 51 percent and Romney at 42 percent, but polls registered voters in Ohio, not likely voters. 

Romney’s Ohio state director, Scott Jennings, released a memo today arguing that Romney remained competitive in the Buckeye state:

Early voting begins on Tuesday in Ohio and I thought I’d share some thoughts on recent polling and grassroots metrics that tell me Mitt Romney is well positioned to win Ohio’s 18 Electoral Votes.

First, Public Policy Polling, a Democrat firm, released an Ohio survey Sunday night showing Barack Obama with a four point lead over Mitt Romney. The survey revealed that by no means is the race in Ohio anything other than up for grabs, with PPP reporting: “It’s a mistake to think based on recent polling in Ohio that the race there is over. Obama is not popular in the state…”

·         More people disapprove than approve of Obama in Ohio. 49% of respondents disapprove of the job Obama is doing, and only 48% approve. There are plenty enough people in Ohio who disapprove of Obama for Mitt Romney to persuade and win the state’s 18 electoral votes.

·         Undecided voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Obama. Among those still undecided on the election, just 13% approve and 65% disapprove of Obama. Mitt Romney has a huge pool of undecided voters to talk to in October who have already concluded that Obama has done a poor job in office.

·        This poll was a D+5 sample, closer to reality. As we’ve pointed out, many of the Ohio public polls show outrageous leads for Obama were caused by dramatic oversampling of Democrats. This survey is a bit more realistic. It’s amazing what happens when you stop oversampling Democrats – you find a race in Ohio that is tight-as-a-tick. As a reminder, in 2008 Democrats enjoyed a partisan turnout advantage of eight points (D+8). In 2004, Republicans had an advantage of five points (R+5). We believe this race will fall somewhere well inside those confines, even as some national media surveys give Democrats an advantage outside those bounds.

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Rasmussen’s national tracking poll on Sunday had an interesting tidbit: “Currently, 43% of voters are “certain” they will vote for Romney. Forty-two percent (42%) are that certain they will vote for Obama. The remaining 15% are either uncommitted or open to changing their mind.” When you consider that so many of those undecided voters in Ohiohave a sour view of the President’s job in Ohio, you can reasonably conclude that Mitt Romney has a solid chance of convincing them the country would be better off going in a different direction.”On top of the Rasmussen tidbit, two new national polls find a very tight race. The Politico/GWU/Battleground poll shows a two point race among likely voters, as does the ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Third, Mitt Romney’s campaign in Ohio is absolutely crushing its ground game metrics as part of the Republican Party’s Victory effort. Sometime this week the campaign will knock on its one millionth door and make its three millionth phone call since May. More doors have been knocked in Ohio than in any other swing state by the Romney-Ryan Victory effort, and public and private polling continues to show a similar number of Ohioans who say they’ve been personally contacted by the Romney and Obama campaigns. This is a significant achievement considering that Obama’s operators claim to have hundreds of offices and thousands of staffers in Ohio who’ve been prepping their effort for four years. The Romney-Victory effort began in May. This tells us that Obama’s ground game claims are largely made for press release fodder and not actual voter contact.

Last week, the Romney-Ryan Victory effort in Ohio knocked on 162,506 thousands doors. The week before it was 137,948, leaving the astonished Ohio Democrat Party Chairman exasperated in this Washington Post article. Sorry to ruin your Monday morning, Mr. Chairman. In fact, over 300-thousand Ohio doors were knocked in the last two weeks by thousands of Ohio Republican volunteers hungry for a change in leadership in the White House. These volunteers know that the Romney-Ryan road to victory in November runs through Ohio, and they are doing everything in their power to make that a reality.

Bottom line – the race in Ohio is close, undecided voters are extremely unhappy with Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney’s campaign has built a ground game that is at the very least matching Obama’s while surpassing all previous Republican efforts when it comes to knocking on doors and contacting voters face-to-face.

This week, the Romney-Ryan Victory effort in Ohio will conduct its fifth “Buckeye Blitz,” which will yield hundreds of thousands of additional voter contacts. The Romney Ryan “Early Vote Express” bus will make stops across the state to encourage supporters to bank their votes early and then volunteer for the campaign. On Wednesday night, the campaign will hold dozens of debate watching parties where supporters will gather and organize for the final campaign push. And while the ground game capacity continues to expand in all 88 Ohio counties, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will continue to make the case to all Americans about their plan to create 12 million jobs, cut the debt, drive us toward energy independence, and stand up to China’s cheating that costs our country jobs.

I am excited about what I see on the ground, and enthusiastic about the positive vision for change the Romney-Ryan ticket is offering Ohio voters.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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