ELECTIONATE JULY 20, 2012
If there is any state where attacks on Romney would be expected to make a difference, it would be Ohio—a state full of white working class swing voters who treat outsourcing and closed manufacturing plants seriously.
For that reason, Priorities USA—the Obama-aligned Super PAC dedicated to attacking Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital—allocated considerable resources to the Buckeye State, airing advertisements in both the Cleveland and Columbus media markets. Besides Bain, more than one-fifth of Obama’s spending has been concentrated in Ohio, and total spending by Obama and his allies have outpaced spending on behalf of Romney by a considerable margin.
And perhaps as a result, the president appears pretty strong in Ohio. Recent polls show Obama with a consistent lead in the state; just as importantly, Obama’s advantage seems to have grown over the last couple months. In polls conducted since late June, Obama improved by an average of net-3.5 percentage points over his prior margin. Three polls are not very many, but a 4 point advantage in a GOP-leaning state can’t be discounted.
Obama is still beneath 50 percent in Ohio, so he hasn't converted skepticism about Romney into support for a second term. But Romney is mired in the mid to lower-forties in a state that gave McCain 47 percent of the vote, which suggests a meaningful number of Republican-leaning voters, let alone traditional swing voters, are reluctant to embrace the GOP frontrunner. Republican-leaning voters will eventually come around to support Romney, but the fact that they haven’t, despite deep dissatisfaction with the president, could indicate that attacks on Bain and outsourcing are particularly resonant in Ohio.