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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Sunday, September 26, 2004

    Hope the mileage reimbursement is good 

    Willie Nelson should be playing on the CD or tape deck, because the media's on the road again.

    - The Akron Beacon Journal's David Giffels is in Hicksville, in on the northwest edge of Ohio. (Ohioblog figured once a person had been to Spencer, W.Va., Hicksville would be redundant. Guess the media can't go to West Virginia to ask how Ohio is going to vote - though it is not a bad idea.)

    - The Toledo Blade's James Drew is out there on U.S. 40, the National Highway which once was the major east-west highway through the center of Ohio and touches 10. Interstate 70 offers a faster trip through the heart of Ohio but not a better understanding of what's in it five weeks before Election Day.

    - The Columbus Dispatch's Joe Hallett and Jonathan Riskind are in Wisconsin on a Real People Tour (what, as opposed to zombies?), sizing up things in one of Ohio's sister swing states on the heels of the newspaper's extended tour of Ohio.

    - And The Plain Dealer, which earlier did a compelling series of assessments of The Five Ohios, is back out in the northwest Ohio Farm Belt, tilling the Ohioans closest to the land for more about how this election will tip.

    The PD conclusion is that the ``state is tilting, but the fight's not over.'' This determination should make Ohioans see the difference between putting trust in their own closer-to-ground media than in listening to the drums of the more distant forecasters. A number of national news organizations have given Ohio to President Bush, who won here in 2000 by less than 4 percentage points.

    The Plain Dealer turned, as so many do, to the John Green, director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute for Applied Politics, for a response to those who would serve up Ohio's 20 electoral votes to the president too soon.

    ``An 8-point lead is not safe, certainly not in Ohio," Green said.

    Ohioblog's experience suggests the same cautionary note, and if the race is not over, the PD concludes ``the Farm Belt is emerging as a decisive theater.''

    People there - and elsewhere in the state - still want specifics on how the candidates will improve the economy, resolve the war in Iraq and keep America safe - and they want them before Willie Nelson stops singing and the reporters come off the road.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:54 AM

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