Electoral College Votes: 18
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The Buckeye State is often referred to as America’s ultimate bellweather, based on the fact it has picked every president since 1960. Both parties will throw huge campaign resources in pursuit of these 18 electoral college votes – down two from 2012. It is particularly important for Republicans, who have never won the presidency without it.
It is certainly an essential component Trump’s route to the 270 electoral college votes required to win. His message about reversing economic decline most resonates in the Rust Belt, and Ohio’s higher percentage of white voters favours him more than in neighbouring Michigan or Pennsylvania. In contrast while Democrats will try equally hard, Ohio is not an essential target as Clinton has various realistic alternative routes to 270.
Indeed, Ohio’s importance may be overstated this year. The clearest division between Trump and Clinton supporters is race but in contrast to numerous key states, the minority population here is falling. That partly explains why his poll numbers here often defy national trends.
One potential negative for Trump, however, is popular Republican Governor John Kasich’s failure to endorse him. Ground game is critical here in order to maximise the vote and it is reported that Trump must do without the help of Kasich’s dual-election winning team.