Hamilton County -- home to Cincinnati -- sits in the southwest corner of Ohio. Election analysts have pointed to it as the single bellwether county for the state. It's safe to say that as Hamilton County goes, so goes Ohio. And as Ohio goes, so goes the entire nation.
the 2008 election, when Barack Obama won the state 51.2 percent to 47.2 over John McCain.
Hamilton County was the largest county in Ohio to model almost the exact 2008 statewide result, with Obama capturing 52.0 percent versus McCain's 47.0. Montgomery County, home to the city of Dayton, also modeled the 2008 result with a 52.0 to 47.0 margin, but is substantially smaller than Hamilton County.
In 2008, the Ohio District 1 House race pitted Steve Driehaus against incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. Driehaus won by a margin of 3 points, a spread nearly identical to that of Obama at 51.5 to 48.5.
But in 2010, Chabot -- with the rise of the Tea Party -- won his seat back from Driehaus by 5 points, 51.5 to 46.0. To be clear, Chabot was not a popular choice among fiscal conservatives; but the rage against Driehaus -- regarding Obamacare and the rest of the Obama agenda -- was sufficient to reverse the 2008 results with a swing of 8.5 points.
In 2008 and 2010, Ohio's District 1 represented the west side of Hamilton County -- and the west side of Cincinnati itself -- and consisted of a mix of urban, suburban and even rural voters (it has since been redistricted, so it won't be an apples-to-apples comparison). Yet the anger with Obama's agenda was sufficient enough to turn OH-1 from D+3.0 to R+5.5 between 2008 and 2010.
Did the Tea Party go away since 2010? Is the economy notably improved? Has Constitutional Conservatism disappeared? Is the world a safer place? Is Obamacare suddenly popular now?
I think it's safe to say that all five questions can be answered with the word "no".
Ohio represents a make-or-break state for both campaigns. And Hamilton County is the bellwether for the state, if the experts are to be believed. Using the 2010 results, Ohio's old District 1 very well could be a lock for Mitt Romney. And if the old OH-1 results hold, Mitt Romney is going to win Ohio by a very safe margin. I'm not in the prediction business, but I'll put a guesstimate in the comments.
What are you guys thinking about Ohio?