Since 1896, Ohio voters have failed to favor the next president only twice (in 1944 and 1960). Time after time, Ohio has found itself in the thick of the presidential race, and 2016 is shaping up to be no different. What about the Buckeye State makes it so special? In The Bellwether, Kyle Kondik, managing editor for the nonpartisan political forecasting newsletter Sabato’s Crystal Ball, blends data-driven research and historical documentation to explain Ohio’s remarkable record as a predictor of presidential results and why the state is essential to the 2016 election and beyond.
Part history, part journalism, this entertaining and astute guide proposes that Ohio has been the key state in the Electoral College for more than a century and examines what the idea of the swing state has come to mean. In discussing the evidence, Kondik uses the state’s oft-mentioned status as a microcosm of the nation as a case study to trace the evolution of the American electorate, and identifies which places in Ohio have the most influence on the statewide result. Finally, he delves into the answer to the question voting Ohioans consider every four years: Will their state remain a bellwether, or is their ability to pick the president on its way out?