Insiders Split on Romney's Ohio Prospects
In the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll, Insiders were sharply split on partisan lines when asked about the likelihood of Mitt Romney winning Ohio, with Republicans predictably giving the GOP nominee better odds than Democrats. Still, the results also showed that Republicans themselves are significantly more skeptical of Romney's chances than Democrats are of President Obama's in the critical swing state.
An overwhelming majority of Democratic Insiders -- 94 percent -- said Romney was "not likely" to win Ohio. Among Republicans, only 7 percent said it was "highly likely" that their nominee take the state, while seven out of ten Insiders said it was "likely." Another 22 percent of GOP Insiders said that Ohio was "not likely" to be a pick-up for Republicans this year.
Many Insiders in both parties cited the popularity of the Obama administration's auto industry bailout as the reason Romney will find it difficult to prevail in the Rust Belt state. The Obama campaign has touted the move as a signature achievement of the White House.
"Obama actually did save the auto industry, and he'll get credit for it on Election Day in Ohio," one Democrat said.
"The Ohio economy is doing comparatively well, and Obama has sold the state on the notion that it is because of his bailout of the autos, even though it is in fact because of the shale boom," another Republican said.
What is the likelihood of Mitt Romney winning Ohio?
Even more unhelpful to Romney's prospects, many pointed out, was that the former Massachusetts governor penned an op-ed in the New York Times entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" to declare his opposition to the move.
"If only the headline had been 'Get Detroit Through Bankruptcy,' Romney would take Ohio," one GOP Insider lamented.
"Being against the auto bailout is the kiss of death," a Democrat agreed.
Others said the relative strength of the economy in Ohio, as well as the Obama campaign's ground game in the state, would propel the president to victory."The unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Ohioans will vote with their pocketbooks and vote for an Obama second term," one Democrat said. Another added: "2004 in reverse. The energized Democratic ground game cuts Romney's margins in the collar counties surrounding Dayton, Cleveland, Toledo, and Columbus."
Still, not everyone was on board with the notion that Obama had Ohio in his back pocket. Many said that Romney's promises of bringing about an economic revival would resonate with Ohioans hit hard by the recession and disappointed with Obama's record.
"In the end, the economy will prevail, and Buckeyes will rightly hold the president accountable for his reckless assault on small businesses and larger job creators," one Republican said.
"It's been closing every month since the summer. The Obama magic has worn out in the Buckeye State," another GOP Insider added.
A third Republican had a more dramatic assessment: "Tsunami is coming. The Obama gravity-defiance act has been pierced."