The Bellwether Barometer

Midterm elections in Ohio will give an indication of Trump’s nationwide popularity.

The Bellwether State

Often cited as a “bellwether” state, Ohio is peculiarly positioned as a state representative of the nation as a whole. Although Ohio was R+8 state in 2016 (meaning Trump won by 8%), it’s still usually thought of as a swing state. Looking at past presidential elections, Republicans won in 2000, 2004, and 2016, while Democrats won in 2008 and 2012. Between 1900 and 2016, Ohio voted for the winning Presidential candidate 93.3% of the time (28 out of 30 elections); furthermore, Ohio has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 2000. However, overall Ohio has voted for the Republican 60% of the time. Another point of interest is that 9 of Ohio’s 88 counties are “pivot counties,” meaning that they voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but then flipped to Trump in 2016.

Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray won the Democratic primary with 62.16% of the vote. Upon graduating from law school at the University of Chicago, he went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. Afterwards, he ran for US Senate in Ohio, hoping to defeat the same Mike DeWine he faces this year, but Cordray lost the Democratic primary. He found himself pitted against DeWine yet again in 2010, when he unsuccessfully defended his Attorney General seat. Most recently, Obama appointed him to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he served from 2012 until 2017.

Mike DeWine

Mike DeWine won the Republican primary with 59.84% of the vote. DeWine is somewhat of a local legend in Ohio. He attended law school at Ohio Northern University and quickly began his extensive career in public service as a county prosecutor. He served two years in the Ohio State Senate before winning election in 1982 to represent Ohio’s 7th District in Congress, where he would serve until 1990 when he was chosen as the lieutenant governor by George Voinovich. Winning the election, he held the lieutenant governor seat until 1994. Afterwards, he ran for US Senate, where he served from 1994 until 2006. Most recently, he was elected as attorney general in 2010, an office which he currently holds.


Many projections are calling this race a toss-up, including the Cook Political Report, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Daily Kos, and Real Clear Politics. However, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez predicts a slight Republican edge.


Midterm elections are usually seen as a referendum on the president, which places the utmost importance on this election cycle. Specifically, Ohio will be a key state to watch due to its status as a bellwether state. Ohio has the odd tendency to function as a surprisingly accurate barometer of the nation’s political climate. Strong Republican performances in Ohio will serve as a reliable indicator of Trump’s popularity nationwide.



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