The Most Important State in the Country

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How important is Ohio? Though not as big as Florida, and with lower voter turnouts than Wisconsin, Ohio has been on the winning side of every presidential election since 1964. With its geographic and religious diversity, the state is increasingly seen as a microcosm for American voting preference at large.

In fact, on Wednesday night, The New York Times' polling guru Nate Silver went so far as to tweet, “Ohio, just by itself, now has a 40 percent chance of determining the Electoral College winner. About as important as the next 4 states combined.”

Ohio State politics professor Herb Asher is an expert in all things Ohio politics.

"It sounds like 2004 all over again," Asher says, describing the volume of campaign ads, candidate visits and mailings bombarding Ohio's voters this month. "I talk to friends in New York, and California, and Texas, and I tell them it's too bad they don't have a presidential campaign going on."

There are so many different cultures in Ohio that it's difficult to characterize. "What you really have in Ohio is a very complicated state," Asher says, mentioning the very diverse economy, which ranges from urban to agricultural. Yet, he does say that the prevailing sentiment is a moderate one. "I do think candidates in Ohio typically do better when they are seen as within the broad center," he says. 

Professor Asher thinks that it is impossible to predict at this point how Ohio will vote this year. "I think it's going to be a very close state, as you're suggesting."