Chairman of Lucas County Dems says Obama needs to concentrate on jobs firstWritten by John Seewer (AP) | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s clear President Barack Obama faces a tough task in Ohio if he’s to win the prized battleground state two years from now.
Voters are angry with him and the federal government, yet it’s too early to say the shellacking Democrats suffered in the mid-term elections on Tuesday means Obama can’t make a comeback.
After all, more than half of Ohio voters indicated they don’t like either the Republican Party or the Democrats, according to Associated Press exit polling. And only a quarter of them blame Obama for the nation’s economic trouble.
Obama’s fate will be tied, for the most part, to the economy.
It’s the top issue on the minds of voters and nearly everyone remains worried about what will happen in the coming year.
“People have to see direct results,” said Democratic strategist Gerald Austin. “If their life gets better, Obama wins.”
A majority of voters around Ohio gave Obama low marks on his job performance, with almost half saying they strongly disapprove of how he’s done so far, exit polling found.
Nearly two-thirds of independent voters disapproved of Obama’s job performance, the exit poll found. A little more than half of moderates, another key swing group in most elections, approved of his work.
“They’re angry because they voted for ‘yes we can’ knowing full well he inherited these problems,” Austin said. “They were his problems to fix.”
While Obama considers a re-election bid, he needs to concentrate on jobs first and foremost, said Ron Rothenbuhler, chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party in Toledo.
“People are tired of who to blame for this,” he said. “They want to know who’s going to fix it for us.”
Republicans should be careful about how they view their Election Day victories, said state party Chairman Kevin DeWine.
“It is a message to Barack Obama that he went too far,” DeWine said. “That’s a message that he needs to listen to from the independent voter who said in nearly 18 months after his inauguration and watching his policies being implemented, said ‘You’ve gone too far. I’m not comfortable. You’ve not done enough on the issues that I care about’.”
Republicans swept all five statewide offices in Ohio on Tuesday, ousting incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland and five Democrats in Congress.
Ohio was viewed as a state the GOP had this year to win if it wanted a shot at beating Obama down the road.
It’s important to remember that the presidential election will have a different backdrop than the one that just took place.
Turnout in Ohio was way behind the level seen in the 2008 presidential election. Just 48.7 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday, down from nearly 70 percent in 2008.
Some analysts attributed that to less enthusiasm among Democrats, young voters and minorities, all groups that overwhelmingly backed Obama in his run.
Conservatives outnumbered liberals by two-to-one at the polls in Ohio this week.
“We shouldn’t dismiss what happened on Tuesday,” said Ohio State University political science professor Paul Beck. “On the other hand, we can’t replicate that two years from now.”