The ultimate swing state: Obama can't win without Ohio

My argument rests on the fact that Ohio is close to being a microcosm of the country—closer than any other pivotal state. As such, winning Ohio is a statistical “tipping-point” for any presidential election: If a candidate can carry Ohio, he will have appealed to a large enough slice of the national electorate to have won the states that tilt even further in his preferred direction, and he is odds-on to win the race. Likewise, a candidate who loses Ohio will almost certainly lose nationally. Here are the numbers from the six post-Reagan presidential elections…

Right now, the white working class feels left out—not just economically, but also culturally. It doesn’t have to be that way. Bill Clinton figured out how to build a coalition that included them alongside the groups that had risen to power in the Democratic Party since 1972, and he was rewarded with a plurality of their vote in both 1992 and 1996.

Autre temps, autre moeurs. What worked 15 years ago may not work today. But it would be political malpractice for the nascent Obama campaign not to invest the analytical resources needed to come up with a better answer than the administration has found so far.