From today’s FiveThirtyEight blog:
If the polls are correct, and President Obama wins a narrow Electoral College victory on Tuesday, the pivotal moment of the 2012 presidential race may have actually occurred in 2009. About two months after taking office, Mr. Obama set the terms of the government’s rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, a move that eventually helped to resurrect the American automobile industry, and, in turn, bolster the economy of the king of swing states: Ohio.
Historically, Ohio has been slightly Republican-leaning relative to the nation. But this year polls suggest that Ohio is slightly Democratic-leaning. That divergence — driven by the auto rescue and the state’s improved economy, local analysts said — may prove determinative. Ohio ranks first on FiveThirtyEight’s tipping point index. The model estimates there is roughly a 50 percent chance that the Buckeye State’s 18 electoral votes will carry the winning candidate past the 270 mark.
Early in the 2012 presidential campaign, during the summer, the Obama campaign saturated Ohio television with advertisements highlighting Mr. Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed article in The Times as well as linking Mr. Romney to Bain Capital and linking Bain Capital to outsourcing, Mr. Asher said. For many Ohio voters, that effort helped undermine Mr. Romney’s contention that his business experience would benefit them if he reached the White House.