With Ohio off the Board, Trump Can Take the Offensive

Buckeye State secured, GOP nominee can focus on flipping states like Michigan, Pennsylvania

Although Hillary Clinton notched a post-debate boost in several swing-state polls, Donald Trump maintained his solid lead in the key battleground state of Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

The GOP nominee actually added slightly to his margin in the Buckeye State, notching Clinton by 5 percent, 47 percent to 42 percent. Just prior to the first presidential debate held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University, Trump enjoyed a 4-point lead at 41 percent to 37 percent. The new poll could indicate that in states where his populist message to blue-collar workers fits the most favorable dynamics, Trump may be immune to damage from his poor debate performance.

“Right now, most of the big campaign battles are over traditionally blue states which Trump supporters should feel good about.”

Trump has now led the last six consecutive polls in Ohio according to RealClearPolitics. In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney did not lead in any consecutive polls even once in the Buckeye State post-convention.

The new numbers and Clinton’s campaign schedule suggest the Democratic nominee may be forfeiting the state entirely. Clinton’s events in Akron and Toledo Monday were her first in Ohio in almost a month.

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“Campaigning is like a game of Risk — if you have to use your armies to protect your own territory, you’re losing. If you can use your armies to attack your opponent’s territory, you’re winning,” Eddie Zipperer, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette, adding that Clinton has been spending a lot of time campaigning in traditionally blue Michigan and Wisconsin.

“Right now, most of the big campaign battles are over traditionally blue states, which Trump supporters should feel good about,” Zipperer said. “He’s pounding home the bad trade deals and lost jobs and it seems to be working.”

The Quinnipiac poll did show the Democratic nominee gaining ground in some important swing states — most notably Florida, where she now leads Trump by 5 points at 46 to 41 percent. Prior to the debate, the two nominees were in a dead heat at 43 to 43 percent.

“The good news for Secretary Clinton is that she has opened a 5-point lead in Florida, in what had been a dead heat in Quinnipiac University’s Sept. 8 poll,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said when the results were released. “But Donald Trump holds his lead in Ohio and stays close in North Carolina, while she retains her small margin in Pennsylvania.”

In effectively taking the key state of Ohio off the map, Trump can turn his attention to these states where Clinton leads by small margins — states that have many of the same dynamics as the Buckeye State.

Ohio shares not only many of the same dynamics with Pennsylvania and Michigan, for example, but also media markets.

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Many voters in these traditionally blue states receive the same news, follow the same issues, and see the same campaign ads across state lines. The Toledo market in Ohio covers 100,000 people in Lenawee County, Michigan, whereas the Youngstown market in Ohio covers 114,234 people in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Four Ohio counties share borders with Pennsylvania, while three counties share borders with Michigan.

With Ohio largely secured, the GOP nominee can focus on expanding strong footholds in these states.

“And what’s really scary for the Clinton campaign is that Trump’s path to 270 doesn’t require that he win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota [all toss-up states right now]; it requires that he win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. And he also has a path without winning any of them,” Zipperer said. “But, it bodes well for Trump that campaign battles are taking place in recently blue states like these than in recently red states like Georgia or North Carolina.”

Clinton acknowledged Ohio is turning its back on her.

“I know Ohio is a tough, tough state,” Clinton told the crowd gathered at her Monday rally in Akron. “But I need your help. Talk to anybody you know here who thinks they might be voting for Trump. I know you know people. I know you do. And you’ve got to stage an intervention.”

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