Every election season, Ohio is one of the biggest swing states on the Electoral College map.
The state provided George Bush his margin of victory in 2004 and Barack Obama won it twice.
But a surprising group of voters may hand the state to Donald Trump.
Trump currently leads Clinton by 1.2% points in Ohio in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
This is a sharp reversal from the 5 point lead Clinton held after the Democrat convention.
Trump has turned the race around in two ways.
Firstly because rank-and-file Ohio Republicans have united behind his campaign – in spite of their establishment Republican Governor, John Kasich, refusing to support the party’s nominee.
Regular Republicans in Ohio have rejected their governor’s attempts to elect Hillary Clinton, and are instead supporting Trump.
“A CNN/ORC poll last week found that 85 percent of Republicans in Ohio were backing Trump — up from 77 percent in a Quinnipiac poll in early July and virtually the same as the 83 percent of Democrats who said they were backing Clinton.
“I was a really strong Kasich supporter [during the GOP presidential primary]. I was a volunteer, I deployed at my own expense to Michigan and volunteered for him, and Trump really wasn’t my first choice,” said Traci Saliba, a GOP activist based in Delaware County, a strongly Republican suburb of Columbus where Trump needs to generate big turnout.
“The closer we get to Election Day, the more people are taking a look and saying, ‘You know what, he wasn’t my first choice, Donald Trump, but we can’t have another Clinton in the White House…
…“The big question was, what’s it going to be like in suburban counties around Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus?” said Bob Clegg, a veteran Republican operative in Ohio. “What we’ve been seeing over the last several weeks is some coalescing in those suburban counties.”
While Trump is benefiting from a united Republican Party, he is also bringing working class Democrats into his coalition.
These voters – who never warmed to Mitt Romney – could be key to placing the Buckeye State in Trump’s column on election night.
CBS News reports:
“But here on Como Street in Struthers, where CBS News spent a recent weekend knocking on every door on the block, Skook was in the minority. All around her, the community was ditching their Democratic roots and flocking to Trump.
Paul Sracic, who has lived in the area for years and is chair of the department of politics and international relations at Youngstown University, described Trump’s “blue-collar billionaire” identity as the perfect cocktail to attract onetime Democrats here.
“They know he’s not really a Republican, and that Mitt Romney hates him, so that helps,” Psaric said of the voters in his community. “So instead it’s like, ‘I’m not becoming a country club Republican, I’m a part of Trump’s party.’”
The story of these defections goes back to March when over 6,171 registered Democrats voted in the GOP primary that was a showdown between Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Even the Democratic mayor of Struthers was caught with a Trump For President sign in his front yard.
But the Democrats here have not come back home. Instead, many of them are still looking to Trump.”
White working class Democrats are fleeing the party for a variety of reasons.
Obamacare has cost many Americans their health plans and has driven up the prices for whatever other coverage they were forced to buy to avoid the law’s penalty.
The party’s cultural shift in embracing the racist, anti-police Black Lives Matter movement as well as forcing businesses to allow men in the women’s bathroom is also a contributing factor.
Whatever the case may be, the New York Times reported Clinton’s team is pessimistic about winning Ohio.
And Trump could be carried over the top by a united Republican Party and the disaffected working class Democrats.