Mark Wert reports:
Putting together a winning political campaign is like building a mosaic. The tiles that the politicians use are the most basic units in which Americans count votes: the precinct.
Now that Ohio officials have counted sometimes troublesome “provisional” ballots and completed their official tally of the 2012 election, map are the mosaic that Barack Obama and his campaign built.
What’s clear to see in the map is where Obama once again patched together a winning coalition of minorities, young people and suburban women along with hard-core Democrats. It was enough for Obama to once again push once-solidly Republican Hamilton County into the Democratic column – something even Bill Clinton never did.
Holding Hamilton County was among the key steps Obama made to once again win Ohio and its 16 electoral votes, returning him to the presidency. Obama carried just 17 of Ohio’s 88 counties, but he won in the six most populous counties in the state, including Hamilton.
Obama crushed Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Cincinnati, taking more than 70 percent of the vote. He won minority-majority suburbs such as Forest Park and Lincoln Heights by even bigger margins.
Obama also held his own in other parts of the county that typically are heavily Republican. For example, he won 10 precincts in Colerain Township, where minorities are moving into the eastern part of the township and a couple in Blue Ash, where women’s votes may have been crucial (given that exit polling showed that Obama did well with suburban women).
Romney performed best in Southwest Ohio’s three other counties, especially Warren County.
It was the only one in the region where Obama failed to win even a single precinct, which he did in both Clermont and Boone counties.
But Obama nearly carried 40 percent of the vote in Butler County, normally a GOP powerhouse.
That hurt Romney’s effort to put a dent in Obama’s margin in the big counties, especially since he carried Cuyahoga, Lucas and Franklin counties by more than 10 percentage points.
In Butler County, a strong youth vote apparently gave Obama wins in 11 of Oxford’s 12 precincts despite the fact that Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan went to Miami University.
A strong minority vote helped give Obama nine of 48 precincts in Hamilton and 17 of 36 in Middletown. Wins in three precincts in West Chester, home to House Speaker John Boehner, and eight in Fairfield were likely due to the growing number of minorities in those areas along with women voters.
Across the river in Northern Kentucky, where neither campaign put in as much effort, Obama’s wins were largely confined to the precincts in the older cities along the Ohio River.