The election will take a slight back burner this week as hurricane Sandy makes landfall in the northeast. The hurricane is causing both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to change their schedules in the last week leading up to the election on November 6th. With that said, one state is getting particularly more attention than the others, Ohio. Ohio remains the key state in this election for both President Obama and Governor Romney.
This week President Obama is planning on being in Ohio Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Governor Romney is planning on being in Ohio Tuesday and Friday. No other state is getting this much attention from the two and this is for good reason. The winner of Ohio will likely win the election.
So where do we stand in Ohio today? A lot of hay has been made about a new poll in Ohio which shows the race tied between Obama and Romney. The poll released by the Cincinnati Enquirer/Ohio News Organization, is great news for Governor Romney who has been behind in Ohio throughout the election season. Of course one poll does not mean Ohio has changed hands. The Real Clear Politics polling average in Ohio still has Obama with a commanding lead of 2.1%.
One thing about all of these polls to consider is the impact of third party candidates on the end results. All of the polls being reported do not consider third party impact, but there will be a third party impact. Of the four third party candidates on ballots this election, the one that will likely have the most impact is Gary Johnson who is running for the Libertarian party. Gary Johnson has secured his name on 48 of the 50 state ballots, and pulls heavily from the Republican ranks (he initially ran as a Republican in the primary). Johnson has a strong following from Ron Paul supporters, and will likely have a much greater impact than he is being credited.
So while all eyes are on Ohio, there are a couple of other factors we need to consider. Third party candidates, especially Gary Johnson, could swing the election. Another state that analyst Nate Silver considers key is the state of Virginia, which is becoming less and less in Obama’s camp and becoming more of a toss up. Without Virginia, even if Obama wins Ohio, the electoral college map becomes much more difficult to close for Obama.
With a little over a week left in this race, it promises to be a nail biter! I am keeping all eyes on Ohio! Without Ohio, I do not believe either candidate can win the electoral college. With Ohio, goes the election.