Good evening, I’m Patrick Hedgebetter. And this is “The Hedgebetter Report.”
As my name coincidentally implies, I like to hedge my bets, not because I’m indecisive, but because I don’t want to be wrong. Was that too honest? Well, how about this then – and this could just as easily be the answer.
There is so much information out there, any, some or all of which could be determinative, that, to provide you with a comprehensive rather than a partial and possibly inadvertently biased analysis, I include everything, because that, I believe, is what a conscientious reporter ought to do. Plus – a little bonus for me – it keeps me from ever being wrong.
Ohio, as you know is a major “battleground state.” History tells us that no Republican candidate has ever won the Presidency without carrying Ohio. However, if the Republican candidate prevails in most or all of the other battleground states, some of which have voted with Ohio in the past and some of which have not – meaning there is no reason they would do so this time and there is no reason they wouldn’t – there is still an Electoral College path to the White House without the Republican candidate’s carrying Ohio.
This is just something to bear that in mind. No Republican has ever won without winning Ohio, but it is a long way from being mathematically impossible. Meaning, if the Republican candidate loses Ohio, it is not over. It makes it harder. But it can be done.
And, of course, if he does win Ohio, that does not automatically make him the president. The Democrat can carry most or all of the other battleground states and still beat him. Summing up, a Republican has never won without Ohio, but if he does win Ohio, he can still lose. So you can take that for what it’s worth.
Though the Ohio polls currently show a slight lead for the Democrats, there are reasons for Republicans to remain hopeful. For one thing, Ohio’s demographic profile is one in which, in recent years, the Democrats have not polled strongly, that demographic being white males, and, more specifically, white males without a college education. The predominance of this demographic in Ohio is encouraging for Republicans.
On the other hand, many of these same white males who, since the late sixties have substantially voted Republican, favor the Democrats’ rescue of the automobile industry. So they may, as a result, vote Democrat. So it could go either way.
What may well determine the Ohio race is the women’s vote.
If Ohio women mirror their male counterparts’ preference for Republicans, they may vote Republican as well. On the other hand, if Ohio women feel, as the majority of women do, that the Democrats are more supportive of women’s issues, Ohio women might then vote for the Democrats.
Republicans, however, have stressed that the most important issue for women – as well as for men – is jobs. If the women of Ohio feel that Republicans have a better approach to creating jobs than the Democrats, it may lead Ohio women to vote Republican.
On the other hand, if jobs are their primary concern, then, aware that the Democrats saved the automobile industry, saving automobile industry jobs, the women of Ohio could repudiate the Republicans’ abandoning of the automobile industry, and vote Democrat.
Up till now, I have focused on Ohio’s potential voting direction, without mentioning the candidates. In the American system of government, the electorate has an opportunity to cast their vote directly for the president. So who the candidates are makes a difference.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for voters to vote the “party ticket” top to bottom, making the candidate himself irrelevant to the decision.
We could probably say without fear of contradiction that sometimes the candidate matters, and sometimes he doesn’t. The way our system is set up, however, most of the time, he does. With the proviso that, some of the time, he doesn’t.
Considering the likelihood that the candidate matters, what do we know about the two candidates?
Mitt Romney is promoted as a successful businessman. Of course, his detractors object to the type of business he was engaged in, a business that focused unilaterally on profits ahead of people. So, potato – potahto.
Romney’s supporters will point to his abilities as a pragmatic problem-solver. His detractors will highlight his one-hundred and eighty degree turnaround on the numerous core positions he stood for when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, all which he reversed for the Republican primaries, and then moderated during the General Election.
Romney’s supporters will then frame this behavior as evidence of his being a pragmatic problem-solver – he assessed the problem, then responded pragmatically, by changing all his positions.
Romney also earns points for being religious. He then loses them, because of which religion it is.
As for the other candidate,
Barack Obama is black.
Make of that what you will. And everyone does.
There is also the question of the “Youth Vote”, which supported Obama enthusiastically in 2008. Their excitement, however, has lost considerable steam over the past four years, and the young voters may well go the polls in lesser numbers, especially if they oversleep, or there’s an awesome party at the frat house.
With the available information, I can easily make a case for either candidate winning the presidency, both before and after the election. Leading to one prediction I can make with total certainty.
Whoever wins the White House, with my fence-sitting what-passes-for objectivity, and my reams of statistical data supporting any certain, likely, unlikely, or unexpected outcome and everything in between, I can predict with complete confidence
That I am definitely here to stay.
This is Patrick Hedgebetter for “The Hedgebetter Report.” Good night, and we’ll see you next election.