The election in Ohio and auto jobs.

Posted by LDonia on 11/06/2012

While the outcome of tonight’s election is still hours away, journalists and pundits have already begun speculating on what a Mitt Romney loss in Ohio would mean.

Dan Balz at the Washington Post and Micah Cohen at the New York Times seem to agree that if Ohio goes to President Obama it will have much to do with the auto industry rescue.

Balz writes:

In Ohio…the bailout has been judged a success. Politicians in the two parties may argue over exactly why the unemployment rate in Ohio is almost a full point below the national average. They may quibble over how much the bailout has contributed to Ohio’s improving economic picture. But in a state where roughly one in eight jobs is tied to the industry and where there are auto-related companies in 80 of the 88 counties, the bailout has given the president something tangible to point to as a success at a time when many voters question whether his policies are helping to revive the overall economy.

Cohen concurs and takes the discussion a step further, quoting Paul A. Beck a professor

The auto rescue and Ohio’s steadily falling unemployment rate appear to have improved Mr. Obama’s standing with the very demographic group that Mr. Romney might have made inroads with: white working-class voters.

'White working-class voters in Ohio have been more supportive of Obama than white working-class voters nationwide,' Mr. Beck said.

Earlier this month, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul published an op-ed in the Huffington Post about the Romney campaign’s handling of a story on Chrysler/Jeep allegedly planning to move operations to China.

Balz also mentions this in his piece. He suggests that the Romney campaign’s inability to get traction when discussing the auto bailout may explain their recent campaign rhetoric.

Says Balz:

That may have led to the Romney campaign’s decision to launch a late ad suggesting that Chrysler’s new owners planned to shift production of Jeeps from Ohio to China…Romney has paid a price for the ad. The chief executive of Chrysler said any suggestion that the company was moving jobs out of the United States to China was wholly false. Ohio newspapers have pounded Romney over the ad. Fact-checkers have uniformly called it inaccurate. A General Motors spokesman told the Detroit Free Press that a radio ad by Romney on the auto industry showed that 'we’ve entered some parallel universe' during the last days of the campaign.

The outcome of the election in Ohio may not be known for hours (or days, or weeks) but it may well hinge on actions and words from 3+ years ago.

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