Friday, October 10, 2008

Ohio Election: Too Close to Call

Joe Sims
My sense of things is that the election is close, very close in Ohio. The last poll I’ve seen shows the Democratic ticket with a slight 48 percent to 46 percent lead. Last week the figures had Obama ahead by 7 percent. The data doesn’t indicate the number of undecided voters. The above number would suggest about 6 percent.

It might be higher. Knowledgeable people with their ear close to the ground say it might be close to one-third of the voters. One good sign is that a recent poll says Ohio Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton are now backing Obama by something like a 60/20 margin. It was closer to 70/30 a while ago – 70 percent not backing the Illinois nominee. One union campaign worker said Obama is running slightly ahead in phone calls.

The trade union movement in Ohio is going all out to defeat the McCain, Palin, Bush team. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” and old friend and comrade told me. “It’s unprecedented. The local labor council, the auto workers, the Teamsters – everybody is on board.” Admitting much of his evidence is antidotal, he continued, “Even at my job, where there are a lot of backwards people, everyone says they are supporting Obama – everyone. That’s never happened before.”

Over 2500 workers showed up at a Niles Ohio labor rally last Sunday to mobilize support for the election and protest plan closings organized by the Ohio AFL-CIO. Over 200 showed up at a mid-day rally on Thursday in Cleveland.

Everyone says now that the economy is the driving force in the election. “Depression” is now the word on everyone’s lips. One election activist said, “It’s really heartening to hear people engage voters and debate the issues. One working-class white woman from a Youngtown suburb was really outraged at AIG executives who had “the nerve to take a $600,000 vacation after the bailout. These are the same people who rant and rave about single mothers struggling to make ends meet receiving food stamps. But they live high on the hog on our tax dollars.”