ANALYZING OHIO: A Bellwether District in a Bellwether County in a Bellwether State
Hamilton County — home to Cincinnati — sits in the southwest corner of Ohio. Election analysts have pointed to it as the single bellwether county for the state. It’s safe to say that as Hamilton County goes, so goes Ohio. And as Ohio goes, so goes the entire nation.
Why is Hamilton such a bellwether? Considerthe 2008 election, when Barack Obama won the state 51.2 percent to 47.2 over John McCain.
Hamilton County was the largest county in Ohio to model almost the exact 2008 statewide result, with Obama capturing 52.0 percent versus McCain’s 47.0. Montgomery County, home to the city of Dayton, also modeled the 2008 result with a 52.0 to 47.0 margin, but is substantially smaller than Hamilton County.
In 2008, the Ohio District 1 House race pitted Steve Driehaus against incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. Driehaus won by a margin of 3 points, a spread nearly identical to that of Obama at 51.5 to 48.5.
But in 2010, Chabot — with the rise of the Tea Party — won his seat back from Driehaus by 5 points,