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Ohio Considered Crucial to Bush, Kerry Campaigns

Of all the so-called "battleground" states President Bush and Senator John Kerry plan to target in their presidential campaigns, none is expected to receive more attention than Ohio.

Mr. Bush won the midwestern state with 11-million people in the 2000 election. But rising unemployment in Ohio has led Democrats to believe they can reverse that result this time around.

The stakes are high because Ohio carries a prize of 20 electoral votes -- a significant chunk of the 270 needed for a candidate to capture the White House.

The state's largely moderate voters also are considered a good indicator of which party will win the general U-S presidential election.

Since 1964, every candidate who has won Ohio also won the presidency. And no Republican has ever been elected president without winning the state.

With this in mind, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry have both made several visits to Ohio in recent months. Both campaigns are airing television commercials aimed at swaying the state's voters.

A recent (University of Cincinnati) poll showed the two candidates in a virtual tie in the state. If history is a guide, the man Ohio voters eventually choose may well be on his way to overall victory and the White House.