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Author Kyle Kondik: Ohio Remains a Pivotal State in Presidential Elections

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The winning presidential candidate has won Ohio in 28 of the past 30 elections – stretching back to 1896, according to Kyle Kondik, the author of a new book The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.

Ohio is not only a “swing state” but better than all other states in predicting the final outcome of presidential elections. In short, how Ohio votes overwhelmingly tells you how the nation has voted. Ohio has a better record than any other state, according to Kondik
His new book, published by the Ohio University Press, examines why Ohio is such a predictor of winning presidential elections. Kondik cites three predominant reasons: 1) Ohio bests any other state in voting for the winner; 2) Ohio’s results most often reflect national voting averages and 3) Ohio has given the decisive electoral votes to winning candidate more than any other state.

For a long time, Ohio has been touted as being a microcosm of America and therefore, seen as the predictor state. Kondik thinks that is still true for 2016 but does note that Ohio has less than the national average of Hispanic and Asian voters. He wonders if that will impact the final vote in this state this year.

Kondik notes that Ohio garners a huge percentage of candidates’ time in the general election. In 2012, he cites that all four presidential and vice-presidential candidates made 250 campaign stops during the election and 70 were in Ohio. Ohio would account for nearly 28 percent of all campaign appearances by candidates.

Finally, Kondik says that being the target of candidates and a bellwether state has produced and economic boom for some local television stations. One station in the Columbus market reportedly received nearly $50 million in political advertising in 2012.

Kondik, an Ohio native and graduate of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, is currently the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan political tipsheet produced by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He is considered a national expert on elections and election analysis.