The Data and Demographics That Detail Why Romney Will Defeat Obama in Ohio

 I am going to take a break from promoting my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn to write about another interest of mine; election polling and demographics in my home state of Ohio. Lately my dander has been raised more than once by polls which are totally inept in their sampling rational. This article will attempt to explain why at this point Governor Mitt Romney is in the driver’s seat in my home state. Full disclosure; I did not vote for Governor Romney in the GOP primary, my vote went to Senator Rick Santorum. Also until the mid 1990s I was a conservative Democrat; my political work began in the 1980s as in intern in the Ohio State House and then continued for the Democratic Leadership Council on Capitol Hill in 1994-95. I saw no hope for conservative Democrats like myself after my stint in Washington DC. I view myself not as a Republican, but a conservative.

The 2008 General Election was a perfect storm for Democrats across the country and Ohio was no exception. By 2010, the gains the Democrats made had evaporated and the GOP returned to the levels it had enjoyed in the 1980s. However, political polling across the country has not reflected this change. Obviously this makes a huge difference in Midwestern swing areas, especially suburban locations, the area of most states that continue to grow, even if that state’s total growth is stagnant.

For example in Ohio the area surrounding Franklin County (Columbus) and the area surrounding Hamilton County (Cincinnati) are the fastest growing areas of the state. These areas generally go GOP 65%-35%. Conversely, the Democratic strongholds of Lucas (Toledo,) Cuyahoga (Cleveland,) Summit (Akron,) and Mahoning (Youngstown) are the areas of the state that have seen a freefall in residents since the late 1970s.

While many people are aware of this statistic, one area few seem to realize is the age demographic, Democratic voters are dying off faster than the younger (40 and 50 something) Reagan era GOP voters of the fast growing GOP strongholds of suburban Columbus and Cincinnati.

Now let’s take a look at raw voter counts in Ohio and what we can expect after the polls close at 7:30 PM on November 6. A cursory glance of the 2004 and 2008 election results in the Democratic strongholds in the northern part of the state might make one reason that a serious error had occurred. How could Massachusetts Senator John Kerry possibly get more votes than the first African American standard bearer, then Illinois Senator Barack Obama in areas like Cuyahoga County which is over 30% African-American, the highest percentage in the state?

The answer is simple, thousands of voters had died or moved from that area of the state in those four years, and many more thousands have done so since the economic meltdown of 2008. For example in 1980 Cuyahoga County had 1,500,000 residents compared to 1,280,000 in 2010, Lucas County had 471,000 in 1980 compared to 441.000 in 2010 and Mahoning County had 290,000 residents in 1980, compared to 239,000 in 2010. Many left for southern and western states. As recent as a few days ago (early October 2012) election officials had reported a huge drop off in eligible voters for this Democratic rich area of the state.    Let’s give the President the benefit of the doubt and say his numbers in Cleveland, Toledo and Youngstown only drop 5% (due to shifting demographics) this is still a nightmare scenario for the Obama-Biden ticket when one realizes that Romney-Ryan ticket will certainly gain at least 5% in the Columbus and Cincinnati fast growing suburban areas.

Now let’s take a look at the GOP strongholds of suburban Columbus and Cincinnati. In 1980 Butler County (outside of Cincinnati) had 258, 000 voters compared to 368,000 in 2010 and Warren County directly north of Cincinnati had 99,000 residents in 1980 versus 212,000 in 2010. Let’s look at Columbus, Delaware County which for years was the fastest growing county in the Midwest had 53,000 residents in 1980 compared to 174,000 in 2010 and Fairfield County had 93,000 residents in 1980 versus 146,000 in 2010.

Still not convinced; let’s look’s at the vote totals. The suburban counties that ring Columbus (Franklin County) saw them go 59-41 for Senator John McCain in 2008. This was a drop off of six percent compared to vote totals received by President George W Bush in 2004. GOP officials with access to data have assured me that internal polls show Governor Romney at least getting the percentages that President Bush won in 2004, if not higher.

Let’s take a look at the Cincinnati area; in 2008 Senator McCain won the suburban counties that surround Cincinnati 63-37, again like Columbus a six percentage drop off from 2004. In 2004 President Bush won Warren County (still the second fastest growing county in the state) 72-28. In addition, President Bush won Hamilton County (Cincinnati) while Senator McCain lost Hamilton County. Again, I have been assured by those who know that Hamilton County will not go for President Obama this time.

Let’s take a look at the eastern part of Ohio, coal country. With the exception of Athens County home of my alma mater Ohio University, every county is expected to be in the Romney column. Some counties like Monroe, Belmont and Jefferson have only been in the GOP column a couple of times since the inception of the Republican Party. While these are not huge vote rich areas, they certainly will help Governor Romney.

Now some knowledgeable observers will say, wait a minute. What about Franklin County (Columbus) a one time GOP sure thing. Won’t that help the President’s re-election chances? True, Franklin County was once the epitome of the establishmentarian, button down Mr. Thurston Howell III GOP politics. While Franklin County only gave 40% of her vote to Senator McCain, it is growing at a much smaller rate of growth than the suburbs who ring her. So even if Governor Romney gets the same totals, he will still win the vote rich suburban counties that ring Columbus (mentioned in raw numbers above) 2-1 and then some.

Franklin County reflects a growing trend in Midwest vote demographics; liberal voters, who are often single, moving into the city center (often lofts in converted old warehouses) and her near-by environs full of university and alternative lifestyle neighborhoods, areas that a few decades ago were once blight ridden but now have been gentrified. Some of these stately old homes can easily sell for hundreds of thusands of dollars. This all seems lost on many conservative oriented voters who often want larger spaces for their families. They are moving to the faster growing suburban counties that ring the county in question.

Now let’s not so much look at political poll results as much as we look at sampling data in a state that is the epitome of middle of the road partisan support. Before Governor Romney’s debate performance which was nearly universally acclaimed, he trailed in the Buckeye state from anywhere between 2 and 10 points. Yet, the CBS poll which had him down nearly 10 points weighted the poll with a +10 Democratic statistical advantage. The sampling method appeared for all intents and purposes to be outrageous. Even Scott Rasmussen dubbed by many to be GOP friendly in his surveys gives Democrats a statistical advantage of sampling in a state where one could argue that Ohio is as close to parity as anyone in the nation. In addition, poll after poll shows the GOP voters more motivated to get the polls than Democratic voters.

A couple more points before I conclude; the religious vote in Ohio will be very interesting. Catholics and Evangelicals who go to church regularly will go Romney 2-1, though the mainstream media will certainly concentrate on self identified Catholics who perhaps haven’t been to Mass since the Ford Administration. Catholics make up an interesting religious dynamic, while a Baptist or Methodist who hasn’t been to church in a long time will probably just identify themselves as Christian, a Catholic because of cultural identity will almost always say Catholic. This leaves us with an interesting question regarding Jewish voters. Normally, one would expect Jewish voters to vote overwhelming for President Obama, perhaps 3-1 or 4-1.

However, the candidacy of 34 year old Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, for the United States Senate seat currently held by US Senator Sherrod Brown may bring an interesting dynamic to the race. About 75-80% of Jewish residents in Ohio live in the greater Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati areas. Many in Cleveland live in the eastern areas of Solon, Shaker Heights and University Heights, while in Cincinnati many live in the Montgomery/Blue Ash area. In the Columbus area the highest numbers live in Bexley and New Albany.

A Mandel victory would bring certainly launch him to the most promising GOP conservative Jewish elected official outside of Majority leader Eric Cantor. Mandel would be the biggest Jewish rising star in Ohio since the late US Senator Howard Metzenbaum. Though President Obama will certainly win the Jewish vote, his numbers may be diminished by first the candidacy of Treasurer Mandel, and secondly the controversial Middle East policy of President Obama who has hardly had what anyone would call a cozy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Any drop in the Jewish vote for President Obama will not help his cause in Ohio.

Finally, these Ohio demographics of industrial Democratic areas losing voters, while suburban areas are gaining GOP voters are not unique to Ohio. They are indicative of the entire Midwest. One only needs to look at the tremendous loss of population in Detroit. The city has lost 250,000 residents just from 2000-2010. It is now smaller than Columbus. Again like Northeast Ohio, many of those residents left the state. Governor Romney, who was born in Michigan and whose father casts a long positive shadow in the state, may not be behind as much as the polls indicate. He certainly will do much better in the Detroit suburbs than did Senator McCain. I will leave that analysis up for someone in the state up north to extrapolate. Now anything can happen from today until election day, bad debate performances (though that seems a little less likely after the first debate) or some sort of scandal. However, using the data I have outlined, it is easy to see that not only will Ohio go for Governor Romney, but so could a host of upper Midwest states.

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  1. Too bad none of what you cite will make any difference, since we have a criminal administration willing, and certainly capable of stealing this election. And should this not succeed, there are Obama’s minions – The Muslim Brotherhood, ACORN, The New Black Panters, etc., ready to riot, claiming WE stole the election. Then, of course, the Dictator in Chief will use his self-appointed powers to declare martial law, and void the election.

  2. That all worked real well for the Democrats in 2010. Most of the states now have Republican governors, including all the swing states. This election is not going to be decided by the margin of fraud.

  3. The thing that has me worried, is that in our town–once a bastion of conservatism–there are Obama/Biden signs everywhere. I’ve never, ever seen this many signs for a Democrat president. Heck, I’ve never seen that many signs for a Democrat anything. It could simply be that a local Catholic (“seamless garment” type) is running for state house on the Democratic ticket. She is very well organized and well known among the liberals, social justice community and her own parish (which may still be the largest in our diocese although it’s population has been declining over the past few years).

  4. “in our town, once a bastion of conservatism, there are Obama-Biden signs everywhere”

    Well, I’m seeing far FEWER Obama signs in Central Illinois today than I saw four years ago. I’m seeing plenty of signs for local level Democratic candidates (Congress, state legislature) but hardly any for Obama. I don’t see all that many Romney signs either, though.

  5. Re: Edie Eason – I wouldn’t put anything past Comrade Barry, or more precisely the Axelrod/Peoples’ Democratic Party inner cluster. The phrase “cyber security” keeps popping up lately . . . I won’t really relax until the Oath of Office is taken by a non-incumbent on Jan 20, 2013. And even then I’m not going to be totally off guard.

  6. From Instapundit:
    “DEMOCRATS GONE WILD: Obama supporters ‘key’ cars displaying pro-Romney bumper stickers.” …
    Posted at 11:59 am by Ed Driscoll

    Young, footloose, and ‘care’free under the influence of media and – well … .

  7. @Elaine:

    Thanks; need the boost. Think I will chalk it up to union politics (the unions have a proposal on the ballot. An important one) and the local democrats being amazingly organized. One of the funniest yard displays I’ve seen though is one for Obama, the democratic state representative, and then our representative to Washington. Obama and the local democrat are hard left; our representative to Washington is well to the right of middle.

  8. Thanks WR Aiken, I did see that and that is the reason I wrote this article. I did not want on Election Night to say, I told you so when I didn’t do anything about it. My article is an attempt to spell out everything I have been seeing, reading and hearing around me. As I wrote in the article, I dare say Ohio isn’t the only state that fits the criteria of which I wrote.

    The anti-suburb and anti-rural pitch has been the clarion call of the far left for some time. This is not your Flower Power Left but a more aggressive and wealthly Left which I describe in my book; “The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn.” Whereas the old left admired the Berrigan Brothers, Father Cool and Sister Sunshine; this new left is fimly in the camp of Saul Alinsky and Richard Dawkins.

  9. Hopefully there is political action aimed at convincing Catholic democrat voters to abstain from voting for Nobama. Even if they vote an otherwise democrat ticket. Direct action outside RC church’s on Sunday should urge Catholics to abstain on behalf of the Church. This could peel off enough votes to win the Ohio. Lets face it; blind loyalty prevents many old-timers from voting for any GOP canidate. But appealing to their conscience & love of Church might sway them & reduce turnout for the vile Nobama.

  10. _________________________________________________________________________________



    “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.” – Archbishop William Lori, Diocese of Baltimore, Maryland

    Journalist: “is it ever licit for a Catholic to vote for a pro-abortion candidate? Is it ever valid?”

    “No. You can never vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb. Where you don’t have a candidate who is proposing to eliminate all abortion (voters may) choose the candidate who will most limit this grave evil in our country. But you could never justify voting for a candidate who not only does not want to limit abortion but believes it should be available to everyone.” – Cardinal Raymond Burke

    “I certainly can’t vote for someone who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion. Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell. But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments. You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation. To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.” – Archbishop Charles Chaput, Diocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    “One might argue for different methods to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments, not intrinsic evils… You need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in jeopardy.” – Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

    “Other pieces of legislation touch on the building of a good and just society and may be open to prudential judgement, … (but) ‘Forming Consciences’ tells us that in the political debate today there is no other issue that rises to this level of moral certitude: Abortion is always wrong. To support political platforms that protect so-called ‘abortion rights’ is to participate in the inexorable conclusion: many, many innocent unborn children will be killed. Sometimes a single issue will be so important it overrides a whole range of lesser issues.” – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

    “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is another choice of another candidate who does not? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies, health care, etc., overcome a candidates support for legalized abortion? The Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion? We cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”- Archbishop Joseph Naumann & Bishop Roger Finn, Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas

    “In all of Church teaching, the Life issues, particularly the protection of unborn children against the crime of abortion, has to be our greatest priority. This is an ongoing slaughter of 4,000 children every single day for the last 40 years. If we support and promote persons who have pledged to extend it and intensify the slaughter, then we bear great responsibility with them.” – Bishop Robert Finn, Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas

    “A committed and convinced Catholic is always pro-life on the issue of abortion and euthanasia, and that includes in the voting booth.” – Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Diocese of Cincinnati, Ohio

    “The failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful.” – _U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  11. The bishops calling to vote for “life” means that Catholics should vote for candidates that support quality life for impoverished, medically fragile, disabled, illiterate, marginalized, disenfranchised, and homeless in the way Jesus served humanity, right? Voting for candidates that support “pro-life” are the candidates who work to make things equitable and fair for people who are not born into privilege or luck. I am a Catholic “pro-life” who is supporting the Obama/Biden ticket because they support “life” for all Americans regardless of the way they come into this world.

  12. “because they support “life” for all Americans regardless of the way they come into this world.”

    Actually they are against a great many Americans coming into this world at all, those whose mothers decide to slay them through child murder euphemized with the term abortion.

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