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Ohio to play key role in presidential election

Courtesy of MCT

As President Barack Obama begins his re-election campaign in Cleveland Wednesday with an economy focused event, one Ohio State professor is speculating that Ohio will play a key role in determining the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.

David Stebenne, a professor of law and history at OSU, explained how important Ohio is to Obama’s presidential campaign.

“There are about nine states that have flipped back-and-forth during elections. Only one of them has enough electoral votes that if Obama carries only that one state, he doesn’t need the other eight,” Stebenne said. “And that one state is Ohio.”

According to multiple media reports, Obama will speak at Shaker Heights High School on Wednesday to revive his efforts for boosting the economy. Stebenne said Obama’s campaign advisers have paid close attention to Ohio.

“It encourages the team on Obama’s campaign to argue that Ohio should be a top priority because they could lose all the others,” he said. “They could lose the Virginias, the North Carolinas, the Indianas, the Colorados, if they carry Ohio.”

But Stebenne said the Democratic Party is not the only party closely watching Ohio.

“The Republicans are even more aware of the importance of Ohio,” Stebenne said. “No Republican has ever been elected president without carrying Ohio. So the likelihood is increased that both parties will go all out in Ohio in 2012.”

Stebenne said the 2012 presidential campaign will be unique for Ohio, due to the circumstances.

“The economy is not great in Ohio and the state has lost a lot of jobs, so I have no idea what campaigning will be like,” he said. “The housing market is also not good. So it’s not the easiest terrain for the incumbent.”

Some OSU students said they know the importance of voting in Ohio during the 2012 presidential elections.

Ryan Pelfrey, a second-year in political sciences, said he enjoys following elections in Ohio.

“It will definitely be a close election and Ohio is going to be a key state,” Pelfrey said. “With the state economically, and with foreign affairs that this country is in, it will be interesting.”

Pelfrey said a lot depends on the GOP candidate elected.

“I think that things will heat up when the GOP candidate is elected and we will be more sure,” Pelfrey said.

The president’s campaign advisers closely watched Ohio’s response to Issue 2 on the state ballot in the 2011 election to see how the Ohio Democratic Party collaborated to reject the Republican issue proposed by Gov. John Kasich, Stebenne said.

“Something so minute like the collective bargaining system for public employees in Ohio became closely watched by Obama and his team,” he said. “The result is that they were impressed by the total number of people who voted no. Because what this suggests is that Ohio is winnable for the president if he chooses to make the maximum effort.”

As of press time, multiple media reports were reporting a two-man battle for the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucus. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were both too close to call at the time of press, and Ron Paul was close behind in third. Romney and Santorum had around 23 percent of the votes in Iowa, while Paul had around 20 percent of the votes.

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