Republican Donald Trump rolled up a huge victory in Ohio, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 9 percentage points even though the Clinton campaign spent far more money on staff, advertising and voter contacts that Trump did.
Here are five key reason why Trump won the Buckeye state:
Trade. Trump campaigned hot and heavy in areas hard hit by trade deals that led to a loss of American manufacturing jobs in places like Dayton, Youngstown, Toledo and Wilmington. He railed against the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA and tied them to Clinton. The anti-free trade message was enough to eat into Clinton’s support in part of the state where blue collar Democrats have struggled to recover after the Great Recession. In Mahoning County, Clinton eked out a 3 point win over Trump, far from the 27.5 percentage point margin that Barack Obama had in that county in 2012. Trump won Montgomery County, which hasn’t gone for a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988. “A lot of people, including in the white working class, are very much opposed to free trade,” said Paul Beck, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University. “I feel like the lost jobs and standard of living cuts deeper in Ohio than it does in a lot of states outside the industrial Midwest.”
Turnout. Clinton beat Trump in Cuyahoga County 66-31 percent, but the turnout in that Democrat-rich area of the state was low. Just 576,490 regular and early ballots were cast, compared with 650,437 total cast in 2012 in Cuyahoga County. Statewide, voter turnout — not including provisional ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots — appeared to be 67.4 percent, which is short of the 70.5 percent turnout in 2012, 69.9 percent in 2008 and 71.8 percent in 2004.
Ground Game. The Clinton team repeatedly heralded its superior ground game to bank early ballots and drive voters to the polls on Election Day. The Clinton campaign deployed hundreds of staffers at offices scattered across Ohio and the candidate swooped into Cleveland, Columbus and elsewhere and dispatched gobs of surrogates to the state. It didn’t matter. Trump hired as his Ohio director Bob Paduchik, a veteran GOP strategist with a proven track record of winning Ohio elections for Rob Portman and George W. Bush. Paduchik delivered Ohio for Trump, even without the support of Gov. John Kasich, who refused to endorse the party nominee.
Diversity. Ohio’s demographics used to mirror the nation but as other states become more racially diverse, Ohio is now a little whiter, less educated and older than America overall. That helped Trump rack up a bigger victory in Ohio. “Trump got amazing margins in a lot of white, working-class counties. That more than made up for the urban vote. Ohio really swung hard to Trump tonight – we’ll have to see where it all ends up but the state should be significantly more Republican than the nation this year, perhaps more than it has been in some time,” said Kyle Kondik, author of “The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President”
Anti-Establishment. Trump, who has never held public office, ran as the ultimate outsider and as someone who pounded away at political parties, the media and other institutions. “This was a year when a lot of voters — a majority of voters were very dissatisfied with how things were going,” Beck said. “They were dissatisfied not only with the state of things but with the political establishment.” Clinton, on the other hand, was seen as the ultimate political insider who has been in the public eye for three decades as first lady, U.S. Senator from New York and U.S. Secretary of State.