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Battleground Ohio

Will Ohio decide who wins the November 2 U.S. presidential race?

October 19, 2004

Will Ohio decide who wins the November 2 U.S. presidential race?

As the closely contested U.S. presidential election goes into its final two weeks, all eyes are on Ohio. No Republican has ever been elected U.S. president without winning Ohio. And only two Democrats — Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 — have won the presidency without it. Our Read My Lips presents the views of Ohio voters.

Why does Mr. Bush have a solid base of support in the Midwest region of the United States?

“Moral values plays well here — and so does warring.”
(Ken Warren, St. Louis University professor, October 2004)

Do all issues in the end boil down to terrorism?

"If we have another terrorist attack, that will kill the economy."
(John Petterchak, Ohio voter, October 2004)

Do some disagree with that sentiment?

“I think we need to address that you have a greater chance of dying of a heart attack than Osama bin Laden coming to Columbus, Ohio.”
(Kerry campaign volunteer, October 2004)

What do some Ohio voters think distinguishes President Bush from Senator Kerry?

“I think he’s the type of person who’d go over there and fight himself if he had to.”
(Jamie Whitney, Ohio voter, October 2004)

Have the media been too tough on the president — or not tough enough?

“I feel like the media is cutting Bush a lot of slack.”
(Kerry campaign volunteer, October 2004)

Is Mr. Kerry being haunted by his reputation as a flip-flopper?

“Bush has literally run our economy into the ground, but Kerry changes his mind every minute. I’m going to stick with Bush — he is decisive.”
(Don Rapley, Ohio voter, October 2004)

Which considerations made one Ohio newspaper endorse Senator Kerry for president?

“He would be a sound steward, replacing a cowboy ethic with a welcome pragmatism, advancing American interests and values, seeking to reverse a careless course abroad — just as he would at home.”
(Akron Beacon Journal, of Akron, Ohio, October 2004)

Why did another paper decide to endorse President Bush for reelection?

“Despite his mistakes, America knows who Bush is. He has led the country through immense troubles. Kerry, burdened by all the votes that came in the U.S. Senate for 20 years, still leaves many questions about what kind of president he would be.”
(The Repository, Canton, Ohio, October 2004)

Have some Democrats switched over into Mr. Bush camp?

"My granddaughters hug me when they are afraid. My vote this year is for the man I believe will provide a safer future for all of our children and grandchildren. That man is President George W. Bush."
(George M. McKelvey, Democratic mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, October 2004)

And how does John Kerry inspire his followers?

“I started on the 'Anybody but Bush" bandwagon. I have been to two John Kerry rallies and find him wonderful. He inspires me to the greatness that America can be and I feel hopeful about the future, a we-can-do feeling. He reminds me of JFK — he is a leader and I have a lot of respect for him."
(Kristin Whitaker, resident of Columbus, Ohio, October 2004)

Any other reasons for supporting Mr. Kerry?

"Oh, yes — the Democrats are nicer people."
(Kristin Whitaker, resident of Columbus, Ohio, October 2004)