Kyle Kondik

The bell may be tolling for Ohio’s bellwether status in presidential elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ohio has an enviable record of being on the winning side of Presidential elections. Since 1896, it has voted for the winner in every election, except when it voted for Republicans Thomas Dewey in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1960, both extremely close elections. Author Kyle Kondik said those bellwether days may well be over. Recently, Kondik, the editor of “Sabo’s Crystal Ball,” the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ newsletter, gave a local history award talk at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. He was being honored for his 2016 book “Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.” Kondik said he may have written the book just in time. The book covers the period from 1896 through 2012. And while Ohio went for Donald Trump by a comfortable margin, the election points to changes that have Ohio out of step with the national electorate. When looking at a state’s predictive power, he said, how closely the winner’s margin of victory in the popular vote in the state matches the national margin of victory must also be considered. Over the years, Ohio has reliably been within 5 percentage points of the national popular vote total.  In 2016 Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points, 51.3 percent to 43.2 percent for Hillary Clinton. However nationally Trump trailed Clinton by 2 percentage points in the popular vote, 46.1 percent to 48.2 percent. This, along with the changing demographics of Ohio and the nation, may…