Obama, Romney Campaign in Pivotal Ohio

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Kent State University in Ohio, Sept. 26, 2012.President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Kent State University in Ohio, Sept. 26, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Kent State University in Ohio, Sept. 26, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Kent State University in Ohio, Sept. 26, 2012.
Kent Klein
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are campaigning in Ohio, a state that analysts agree is crucial in this year’s campaign.  New public opinion polls show the president taking the lead in Ohio.  

As he has so many times in the past few months, President Obama gave a campaign speech Wednesday at a university campus in Ohio.  

“You may have noticed that there is an election going on here in Ohio," said President Obama.

At Bowling Green State University, as he would later at Kent State University,  Obama encouraged students to vote.

Young voters and the middle class were key parts of the coalition that elected Obama in 2008, and he is depending on their support again this year.

In a state where as many as one in every eight jobs is related to the auto industry, the president defended his trade policy toward China.

“We have brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two.  And by the way, we have been winning those cases.  We stood up for auto workers against unfair trade practices," said Obama.

Romney also was in Ohio Wednesday.  He said the president is not tough enough on China when it comes to trade, and that if elected, he will press Beijing harder.

“We are going to open up more trade where we can compete fairly, but we are going to crack down on China when they cheat.  They have stolen our jobs and that has got to stop," said Romney.

After years of economic distress, Ohio’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7.2 percent, about one full point below the national average.  Experts believe that could benefit Obama, although Romney credits the drop to the policies of Ohio’s Republican governor.  

Romney spoke Wednesday at rallies in the Columbus and Cleveland areas.  

After spending much of last week raising money in Texas and California, the former Massachusetts governor is concentrating this week on Ohio, with a bus tour through the state’s larger cities.

Public opinion polls indicate that he may have some work to do.

Several recent polls show that Obama is beginning to increase his lead over Romney in Ohio.  One survey (CBS / New York Times / Quinnipiac) has the president leading by 10 percentage points (53%-43%), and another (Washington Post) shows him ahead by eight (52%-44%).

Polls also indicate that Obama is broadening his lead in other swing states, including Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Some Romney campaign representatives have questioned the accuracy of the polls that show the president’s lead widening. Romney has expressed confidence that he can close the gap.

No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning a majority of Ohio’s electoral votes, and no Democrat has done so since 1960.

Ohio is the seventh-largest of the 50 states in population, and is almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.  Like many eastern states, Ohio has a large manufacturing base, but like many Midwestern states, it also has a large agricultural economy.

Obama has visited Ohio 29 times during his presidency.  He marked the formal start of his re-election campaign with a rally at Ohio State University in April.  

The Romney campaign says the governor has visited 10 times since May 1, and seven times during the Republican primaries.

Although the election is about six weeks away, early voting and absentee voting in Ohio begin less than a week from now, before the first of the debates between the two presidential candidates.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs