BACK TO OHIO

BACK TO OHIO… Pundits have long argued that Ohio is the new Florida, the state most likely to decide the 2004 election. You hear less of that talk right now, with so many other states surprisingly in flux. But Ohio is clearly one of the top battlegrounds. And it remains hard (for me at least) to firmly predict where it’s headed.

On the one hand, several of the most recent polls, including Mason-Dixon, Zogby, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer have Bush leading in Ohio. Bad news for Kerry. On the other hand, according to the Plain Dealer, Bush’s lead in Ohio is shrinking, and ARG has moved Ohio into the Kerry column. Good news for Kerry. And mattb25 at Daily Kos, who’s been tracking the tracking polls carefully, makes a decent case that Kerry is in general leading in Ohio.

Then there’s the Ohio court’s decision yesterday to limit political parties to one pollwatcher per precinct. That’s a big blow to the Republican plan to flood minority-heavy polling places with GOP operatives, the better to bring challenges, create long lines, and ultimately depress Democratic votes. Add to that the fact–which I read somewhere but can’t now find–that far more new voters have been registered in Democratic areas of the state than Republican ones, and the fact that Nader isn’t on the ballot there, and Kerry’s chances in Ohio brighten even more. But, we shall see.

Paul Glastris

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.