Romney reaps benefits of Obama backlash in coal counties

So that war on women thing didn’t work out very well. Let’s see how the President is doing with the war on coal.

Mitt Romney’s battle for Ohio may come down to President Obama’s “War on Coal.”

Romney has gained on Obama in the crucial state. Before the Oct. 3 presidential debate, the RealClearPolitics average had Obama up 5.5 points in Ohio. It’s now down to 2.1 points, with the most recent survey showing a tie…

Romney’s ace in the hole might be the 18 counties in Ohio that still produce coal. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency regulations targeting coal are not popular in those areas.

Thousands of signs in southeast Ohio read, “Stop The War On Coal. Fire Obama,”according to Mark Weaver, a GOP strategist and part of Romney’s legal team in the state.

The 18 coal counties gave Obama a margin of about 41,000 votes in 2008. If Romney could produce a five-point swing, he would win the region by roughly 10,000 votes.

We regularly hear pundits talking about how it’s not even “swing states” anymore, but really swing counties. That’s how much of a science political campaigning has become. So it’s no accident that Romney would be pushing hard in these 18 counties while Obama tries to focus on the ones where there is more employment based in the auto industry. (Based on his continuing hope that people will blame Romney for the auto industry’s ills.)

According to the same survey cited in the linked article, another big factor which is lifting Romney’s prospects in these counties is a decided downturn in enthusiasm from younger voters, 18-29. These younger voters played a significant role in the counties in question during Obama’s 2008 victory, but it’s hard to remain too enthusiastic when you can’t find a job to start off your adult life. Coal is a big job provider in the area, and Obama’s EPA policies have already led to layoffs in that industry, rather than job growth.

So… no war on women. No war on coal. There’s still a week left, though. Maybe the President can kick off a quick War on Hurricanes by tomorrow.

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