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Government and Politics

What can Ohio learn from the Michigan primary?
Similar political strategies used in both states leading up to the primary vote may predict the outcome for Ohio.
This story is part of a special series.

Jo Ingles

Now that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has won the primaries in Arizona and Michigan, all eyes turn to Super Tuesday, in which Ohio has the second highest number of delegates at stake. Michigan and Ohio share similar dynamics that may predict the outcome of the vote in this state.

What can Ohio learn from the Michigan primary?

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Around Valentines Day, some polls in Michigan showed former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum leading his Republican counterparts in the GOP Presidential primary--somewhat surprising since former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a native son of the state up north. But, the last few days of the campaign mattered.

Rick Pluta, a reporter at Michigan Public Radio, says Romney eeked out a slim victory over Santorum, but he also says both men come out winners in Michigan because of the delegate distribution.

Pluta: "By the time it’s all over, the allocation of delegates will likely be pretty even--either the same number or Mitt Romney having just a couple more."

Momentum from his recent wins is one thing Romney will have going in to the final days of the Ohio campaign. And Pluta says Romney has something else to help him--a good organization and lots of money. Pluta says that mean Ohioans will likely be the target of a lot of ads from Romney in the coming days.

Pluta: "Michiganders were inundated with tv ads, with web ads, with emails, with robocalls. If you are in any way, technologically connected to the world, you will not be able to avoid this primary."

John Green, a political science professor and the director of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron agrees Romney’s money and organization will give him a huge advantage in Ohio.

Green: "We’ve seen that in other states, the Romney campaign has simply been able to put more messages on t he air and more mail in people’s hands.  And that certainly can make a difference, particularly in a short time period like the next few days."

The latest polls in Ohio show Romney has some making up to do. He trails Rick Santorum by seven points in the latest Quinnpiac University poll and by 11 points in the Ohio Poll by the University of Cincinnati. But both polls show almost half of the Republican voters surveyed say they might change their minds before election day.

Green says the candidate’s ability to put out messages that resonate with voters will be crucial in these last few days. But he says it’s instructive to take a look at what happened in Michigan to figure out what might happen in Ohio.

However, voters in the two states don’t always vote the same way. In 2008, Former GOP Presidential candidate John McCain won Ohio’s Republican primary while Romney won Michigan’s. In 2000,Michigan Republicans favored McCain over Ohio’s choice--Former President George W. Bush. And in 1996, both states went for the eventual GOP presidential nominee--Bob Dole.

While the GOP race is interesting right now, Pluta says Ohioans might want to pay attention to what the Democrats are doing in the coming days.

Pluta: "You’ll see the Democrats coming in reminding people over and over again that the Ohio Republican field pretty much opposed the automotive bailout and what we saw in Michigan was the constant retreading of the infamous New York Times op ed piece that said 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt'. "

Indeed, Democratic leaders have been appearing throughout Ohio with this message in recent days.  And there is at least one television spot, airing statewide, reminding voters that frontrunner Romney opposed the auto bailout.  In some ways, politicians in Ohio are taking the same page from the playbook used up north.

Listener Comments:

Although popular opinion, forged by the leftist media, and other partners in misinformation support the bailout – many conservatives do not – searching conservative opinions/solutions to the bailouts might result in some critical thought – our we can tune into/focus on who's important in Hollyweed/the “progressive” community.
The Congress is trying to deal with the Senate – it's the Senate/Reid/DOA to most Republican thought/bills, that won't work with the Congress – but does the truth matter.
Heritage-org - Morning Bell: Our Economy Can’t Afford More GM “Success” Stories -November 19, 2010 “...So he publicly bullied the GM bondholders into accepting a much worse deal. Under the White House plan, the federal government was awarded a 60 percent stake of GM, the Canadian government got 12.5 percent, and GM’s unions got 17.5 percent while the bondholders walked away with just 10 percent. Defenders of the bailout say all this was worthwhile because the effects of a failure of GM would have been catastrophic. But that ignores both the deal the bondholders first offered the unions and the possibility of an expedited—but non-political—bankruptcy proceeding.”

Posted by: The Emperor has no clothes on March 3, 2012 1:03AM
This Ohioan hopes my fellow republicans do their homework and use more than what the gentlemen running for our presidential delegates place on TV or what there surrogates place,as well. They need to seek out information and opinions on the internet or from their fellow Ohioans. Don`t be lazy,the rest of the country knows, that for a nominee to win in November ,they have to win in Ohio on Tueseday.

Posted by: tbone (cleveland) on March 2, 2012 6:03AM
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