Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush/Gore 2000: An Ohio Primer

Ohio has been a key battleground state in the last several presidential elections. This has caused many outside of the state to refer to the state as a purple state that could go either Republican Red or Democratic Blue. This often leads to the misperception that support for the two parties is uniformly close throughout the state. This is false.

Ohio is made up of 88 counties, and in reality, a county-wide map of Ohio mimics the statewide map of the US. Counties in or near the large metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo lean largely Democratic while the numerous rural counties lean Republican. The two notable exceptions are Hamilton county, near Cincinnati, which leans Republican and Athens county, a rural county which is the home of the liberal Ohio University, which leans Democratic.

The strategy for the Democratic party is to run up the vote totals in the few metropolitan counties and then hang on as the rural counties slowly chip away at their cushion. The strategy for the Republicans is basically the opposite.

In my next post, I will review the results of the Bush/Gore 2000 election and show how this strategy manifests itself in the county-by-county vote totals.