Sen. John F. Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election, defeating vice president Richard Nixon, but he did not carry the battleground state of Ohio. And it bothered him every time he thought about it.
As I wrote in my book Front Row Seat at the Circus:
The day after his first televised debate with Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy was campaigning in Canton, Ohio. During the fall he made stops in Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Elyria, Youngstown, Lorain, and Cleveland where crowds often numbered over 20,000. Yet, on election night it was Nixon, not Kennedy, who carried the Buckeye State.
JFK is the last person to lose Ohio and still win the presidency, and he never really got over it. “There is no city in the United States where I get a warmer welcome and less votes than Columbus, Ohio,” JFK told an audience to laughter and applause in 1962.
That was a long time ago. Only about a third of America’s current population was alive when Kennedy moved into the White House. Thus why all modern presidential candidates have spent more time in Ohio than any other state.
It’s foolish to think you’re going to be president without it.
That was then, this is now.
Of the fifty states, Ohio has the longest streak of siding the winning presidential candidate. Not since 1960 has Ohio failed to be the political barometer of the nation.
But this year, after supporting Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, we are projecting a majority of Ohioans will side with Donald Trump.
PROJECTION OHIO: TRUMP
An averaging of polls from the Buckeye State shows Trump beating Hillary Clinton by 3.5 percent. That’s a landslide in Ohio.
There are key reasons for Trump’s rise in this key battleground state:
- Traditional working class Democratic voters in coal country — places like Youngstown — are backing Trump and not Clinton.
- Millennials on college campuses across Ohio are not near as enthusiastic about Clinton as they were about Obama (and earlier this year Bernie Sanders). Some will skip voting altogether.
- African American voters in Cuyahoga County could be down up to 35 percent from four years ago.
- Suburban Republicans, who had been leaning toward Clinton prior to the FBI announcement about emails last week, are now backing the GOP nominee.
Obama only defeated Mitt Romney by 200,000 votes in Ohio four years ago. Split that in half, and Trump only needs to pick up 100,000 votes to turn that around. And we believe he has.
What this means is that Ohio, for the first time in most of our lifetimes, is going to get it wrong. Trump is going to win the Buckeye State, but lose the presidency.
As I also mentioned in my book, with the lack of a growing Hispanic population in the state, Ohio’s days as the ultimate political barometer in the land could be over.