No longer much of a swing state, the latest Ohio polls are predicting a triumph for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
CBS/YouGov Poll (11/2-4):
Trump 46 (+1)
A 5 point shift toward Trump in 4 weekshttps://t.co/rJ0YyKhxnX pic.twitter.com/VSwgae6DE1
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) November 6, 2016
Of the five polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics for Ohio, Clinton only wins in one of them, and by just 1 percentage point. In another survey, from Emerson College, Trump ties with her. Neither pollster has an “A” rating from FiveThirtyEight, coming in at a “C” and a “B,” respectively.
In the other three latest Ohio polls, Trump is able to win a relatively easy victory. In the Quinnipiac numbers, he pulls out ahead by 3 percentage points, just within the poll’s margin of error. In the CBS News/YouGov survey, he manages just a one percentage point lead, also within the poll’s margin of error. Both pollsters have an impressive prediction accuracy rate, although YouGov’s is slightly higher, and its sample size in this poll was the largest of any discussed in this article.
One other poll, from Remington Research, calls Trump winning Ohio well outside of its margin of error, with a 5-percentage-point victory over Clinton. Although it has an ample sample size, it’s also worth noting that Remington leans Republican and is, in fact, headed by Ted Cruz’s former campaign manager, Jeff Roe.
Ohio polls are closely watched because of the state’s reputation as a bellwether, the word used to describe areas that “guide” or reflect the results of the general election. It has earned that reputation during three separate centuries of American government, beginning in 1896 with the win of Republican William McKinley. Since then, its choice for president has gone on to win the presidency 27 out of 30 times. The last president who didn’t win it was John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Ohio’s ability to flawlessly predict the outcome of elections has, however, diminished significantly. Its cultural make up is older, whiter, and less educated than the country at large. All of its largest groups are likely to vote for Trump. Add in the GOP nominee’s populist message to limit trade and immigration and the Rust Belt state turns red. No longer do its polls provide a near-perfect reflection of the nation’s overall demographics, reported NPR.
“Ohio’s success as a bellwether owes a lot to its resemblance — close resemblance — to the nation as a whole in demography, economics, party identification. But that resemblance may be fading in the 21st century, as Ohio looks less like the country as a whole. Another state with nearly as predictive a voting record as Ohio is, rather surprisingly, New Mexico.”
Furthermore, it appears that Hillary Clinton’s campaign picked up on slim chances of winning Ohio early. The Democratic campaign has spent much less time there than in a typical election, and it probably isn’t fretting much about the latest polls. In September, James Ruvolo, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, told the New York Times that he didn’t except to see Hillary as much as usual this time around.
“Their map is a little different, and Ohio is not as crucial as it once was. They’ll keep putting in money, but I don’t think they’re going to put a lot of her time in here.”
Even though Ohio might not necessarily nail down the winner of the presidential elections, its 18 electoral votes have grown increasingly significant after polls titled away from Clinton last week. Many blamed the shift on FBI director James Comey, who sent a letter to Congress that suggested an investigation into the former secretary of state’s email server was not over.
Nationally in the electoral college, Clinton is currently holding a slight lead in most comparisons, but she could be unseated if Trump manages to pick up all of the swing states — as well as a few where her lead is less than commanding. Of these battlegrounds, Florida polls are currently the most closely watched as the state holds 29 electoral votes; yet even a relatively small state like Nevada could potentially influence the outcome of the election.
In the national popular vote, the race appears to be closer than ever. The largest poll — with a massive sample size of 5,360 — shows a 50-50 dead heat. The next largest poll, from the Los Angeles Times, shows a 4-percentage-point Trump victory — though this is within the 4.5-percentage-point margin of error. On average in the seven polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, Clinton was ahead by 1.6 percentage points.
Do you think the latest Ohio polls suggest the bellwether state will go red or blue this 2016?
[Featured Image by Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images]