In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky looked at polling numbers and reports coming out of swing-state Ohio and made the case that Donald Trump may not be able to count on winning the state in November.
With Fox News reporting national numbers also looking bad for the sitting president, Tomasky focused in Ohio where the president appears to be faltering as Republicans appear to be fleeing Trump.
“Wednesday on Morning Joe, the namesake host was running through the states where Joe Biden was currently ahead of Donald Trump or was close. Pennsylvania, Scarborough said, was all but in the bag for Biden. Michigan was looking good, Wisconsin leaning that way. Then he proceeded to name-check (if I’m remembering them all) Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, and even Texas as possibly competitive,” Tomasky wrote before adding, “That’s 10 states, fully one-fifth of the whole tattered union. But what state did he not mention? The ur-swing state. The state about which it has often been said, ‘As ____ goes, so goes America.’”
Ohio, he suggested.
Noting that Trump won the state in 2016 by 8.1 percentage points, or nearly 450,000 votes, Tomasky claimed recent trends show a sea change against the president this go-around.
“Some numbers from this year’s primary suggest—I don’t want to go too hard here; suggest—that something very interesting might be happening in the Buckeye State, and it’s not good news for Team Orange,” he wrote.
Based upon the recent primary that showed an upsurge in Democrats requesting mail-in ballots and numbers from the “open_primary” that saw Republicans crossing over to vote for a Democratic candidate, the columnists suggested that the president is facing a rebellion among GOP voters — women in particular.
“What’s it mean? Again, I’ll be cautious here. The obvious inference is that this imbalance is explained by suburban women’s disgust with Trump. We’ve seen this register in a lot of polls. Can there be other explanations? Maybe. But there just aren’t that many options,” he wrote. ” The most likely other explanation is that there was a more competitive presidential race on the Democratic side, spurring Republicans to vote on that side of the fence.”
According to Hannah Riddle, the campaign manager for Alaina Shearer, a Democratic congressional candidate running in a traditional GOP district, a report that 8,800 GOP voters switched to voting for a Democrat is a key number.
“A vastly larger number than we’ve seen before. Anecdotally, you go around and talk to people, and they’re pretty disgusted,” Riddle explained.
“Is this 12th District some kind of anomaly?” Tomasky asked. “Well, let’s saunter down to the also very Republican southwest corner of the state, and the 1st congressional district, the suburbs north and west of Cincinnati. Here, GOP incumbent Steve Chabot is being challenged by Democrat Kate Schroder (her career is in public health—a pretty good year for someone with that on her résumé to be running). In the 1st, says Schroder’s campaign manager Allie Banwell, about 6,200 Republicans took a Democratic ballot, while just 543 Democrats requested a GOP ballot. It’s worth noting here that when people request a ballot, they’re becoming a member of that party until the next primary. So it’s a bit of a commitment for people to make.”
“There are two big things happening in Ohio,” explained state Democratic Party chairman David Pepper. “The first is this suburban shift from red to blue. And number two, the great economy that Trump brags about? That wasn’t really true here even before COVID,” before adding that Trump is now unable to use his “greatest economy ever” line in light of the economic collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Look, it may still be a tough state. Biden and Trump are essentially tied there right now, which is a bit of a discouraging sign, because in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, and more narrowly in Wisconsin, Biden is ahead. And even though Democratic turnout in Ohio was larger than Republican, the overall turnout figure was a low 23 percent,” Tomasky wrote before concluding, “But still, the above numbers are real. They’re actual votes. By 5- or 7- or 12-to-1, Republicans voted Democratic in Ohio more than the other way around, and independents opted to take the Democratic ballot by large margins. It has to mean something.”
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