In each of the past thirteen presidential elections, the candidate who won Ohio has gone on to claim the White House. And despite Donald Trump’s plummeting poll numbers — both nationally and in key battleground states — a new report by CNN Money casts doubt on Hillary Clinton‘s Buckeye chances.
The report — which was comprised of print and on-camera interviews with Ohioans, many of whom have been lifelong, Obama-voting Democrats — shows that voters in the state overwhelmingly associate Clinton with a comment she made at a town hall in Columbus this March, during the primary race. “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she said at the time, touting her clean energy platform. She immediately added a qualifier: “And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people.” She went on to promise to help get coal workers into green energy jobs.
That promise has been largely forgotten. CNN quotes many voters from the Southern part of the state, nearly all of them turned off by her coal comments. (One such voter has never made a living in that industry — but his father worked in mines for years, which speaks to the deep ties Ohio has to coal, and sheds light on how poorly Clinton’s comments played in the state.)
However, when CNN moved upstate to Cleveland, it found a starkly different story. That city’s economy has been booming, and interviews with residents — particularly in majority-black neighborhoods on the city’s East side — provided a markedly more optimistic view of the Democratic candidate.
As of Thursday afternoon, the RealClearPolitics average of four major polls has Clinton leading Trump in Ohio by half a point, 44 to 43.5.