Among the flurry of polls being released this week, none are more scrutinized than those focusing on Ohio, the most important swing state. Without winning Ohio, a Republican has never won the presidency. A pair of articles in today’s Wall Street Journal from Daniel Henninger and Karl Rove setup the case for a Romney win in the Buckeye State.
Four years ago, evangelicals mainly supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. When John McCain became the nominee, he and the evangelical community never connected, and many evangelicals stayed home. This time they are in motion.
According to Henninger’s report, Evangelical voters have been motivated by the religious restrictions in Obamacare.
The president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A. Smith, says, “The intensity of voters in the faith community is as high as I’ve seen it in the last 12 years.” The driver of that intensity is religious liberty. “We took a direct hit with the Affordable Care Act,” he says. Evangelicals watched the Obama administration’s big public fight with Catholic hospitals and charities. What they concluded is that the health-care law was a direct threat to their own private outreach programs.
A wave of Evangelical voters could easily put Romney over-the-top on Election Day in Ohio.
Mr. [Ralph] Reed [president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition] notes that in several opinion polls—NBC, Pew and ABC—the percentage of evangelicals claiming to support Mr. Romney has been in the mid-70s. “We estimate that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn’t vote in Ohio,” Mr. Reed says. “Obama carried the state by 260,000.” If that support of 70% or more holds for Mr. Romney in Ohio, and if the share of the evangelical vote increases by a point or two, then the challenger could carry the Buckeye State.
Mr. Rove notes in a separate column that Democrats are having trouble getting out their voters in Ohio, and that they are relying on estimates of likely voters that are unlikely to be accurate.
Are Democrats bringing out episodic voters who might not otherwise turn out? Not according to Ms. Nallen. She says that about 90% of each party’s early voters so far had also voted in three of the past four Ohio elections. Democrats also suggest they are bringing Obama-leaning independents to polls. But since Mr. Romney has led among independents in nine of the 13 Ohio polls conducted since the first debate, the likelihood is that the GOP is doing as good a job in turning out their independent supporters as Democrats are in turning out theirs.
Desperate Democrats are now hanging their hopes on a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll showing the president with a five-point Ohio lead. But that survey gives Democrats a +8 advantage in turnout, the same advantage Democrats had in 2008. That assumption is, to put it gently, absurd.