The eternal swing state, Ohio is once again crucial to the battle for the White House. No Republican has ever won the presidential race without winning Ohio, and that looks likely to continue this year. If Mitt Romney fails to take the state, which Barack Obama won in 2008, he will need shock results elsewhere to have any hope of becoming president.
Combining the sprawling metropolitan areas of Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland - complete with their pockets of poverty and growing affluent suburbs - with rugged and rural plateaus, 312 miles of Lake Erie coastline and the wetlands of the Great Black Swamp; it’s no wonder the mid-western state of Ohio is described as a slice of everything American.
Politically, Ohio has always shared a unique relationship with the United States presidency; seven of its sons have been sent to the White House, earning the state the nickname the “mother of presidents”.
In terms of party support, the state does have ties with the Republicans; the seven Ohio presidents were Republican candidates and current senator John Kasich is Republican. That said, the Grand Old Party only leads the Democrats 8-5 in electoral triumphs over last 13 elections, and neither party has been able to retain support for more than two consecutive elections; so the political allegiances of the Ohio electorate are highly variable.
Back in 2008, Obama won the state’s sizeable 18 Electoral College votes with a majority of 51.38% - a margin of just 4.59% - and we can expect to see a similar close-run race this year. Currently, the polls suggest that Obama will win Ohio once more - and with it, quite probably, the White House.
Quirky fact: The state of Ohio has produced seven U.S. presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. The list of famous American faces doesn’t stop there. Other well-known Ohioans include Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Annie Oakley, and Clark Gable.
Electoral College votes: 18
2008 result: Obama 51.5%, McCain 46.91%
Governor: John Kasich (Republican)
Population (2010 Census): 11,536,504
Nickname: Buckeye State
Motto: With God, all things are possible