- With about two weeks until Election Day, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are virtually tied in Ohio, a key swing state in this election.
- After voting for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, the state swung right and voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by 8.1 percentage points in 2016.
- Ohio holds 18 electoral votes.
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With about two weeks until Election Day, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are virtually tied in Ohio.
Losing the state would not substantially hurt Biden’s chances for president, but it would be disastrous for Trump: Not a single Republican candidate has ever ascended to the presidency without winning Ohio.
Ohio is the quintessential swing state: the state has flipped which party it votes for in presidential elections six times in the last 12 years and currently possesses 18 electoral votes. But after the state voted Democrat for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, it characteristically swung right once again in 2016 and voted for Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 8.1 percentage points.
According to election forecasting from FiveThirtyEight, Trump currently has just a 51% chance of winning in Ohio. Similar forecasting from Decision Desk HQ shows Trump with a 55.6% chance of emerging victorious in the state.
In DDHQ simulations, only 7% of instances where Trump wins a second term in office are accompanied by a loss in Ohio. Conversely, simulations show a second Trump term accompanied by a win in the Ohio 93% of the time.
But while Trump is narrowly predicted to win by election forecasters, recent polling shows that Biden may be gaining an edge in the Buckeye State. Polling from October 8 to October 12 by Quinnipiac University estimates Biden leading Trump by 1 percentage point among likely voters in the state.
According to Medium Buying, a media buying and tracking company based out of Ohio, the Trump campaign recently cancelled scheduled television ads in Ohio. This comes just one week after reports of the Trump campaign nearly going broke, so campaign officials may be reconfiguring its spending to what it deems to be more crucial at this time, though it is difficult to find a more important race at the moment.
According to Kiel Williams, an author at DDHQ, losing in Ohio would severely hurt Trump’s chances in nearby battleground states.
“Ohio is also emblematic of the winning coalition Trump assembled in 2016: a Midwestern Rust Belt state, where supercharged rural support propelled Trump to victory following back-to-back Obama wins,” Williams said. “If Trump has lost enough support to lose Ohio, he has almost certainly lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as well.”
If the Trump campaign is to win over undecided voters in the Rust Belt, it must act quickly before it is too late.
As of October 19, over 28 million people have already cast their votes through mail-in and early voting in an election expected to receive the most mailed votes in US history. At this point in 2016, about two weeks away from the election, just 5.9 million mail-in votes had been cast. According to voting rights experts, voting by mail is expected to make up 50% to 70% of the total vote in November.
“Bottom line: Trump cannot realistically afford to lose Georgia, Florida, or Ohio while also winning reelection. That Trump is currently struggling in all three states is indicative of the extent to which his reelection is in serious jeopardy,” said Williams.
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