Ohioans are against deportation of illegals

The most recent poll in Ohio has some interesting news regarding the issue of immigration.

Let illegal immigrants stay here.

That’s what 56 percent of Ohioans said in a poll conducted this month by the University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research — and people polled in Southwest Ohio topped that figure.

In this corner of the state, 60 percent said they favored a government policy that allowed undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and become U.S. citizens if they met unspecified requirements in a certain timeframe.

That puts Ohioans in sync with the rest of the nation, according to a Gallup Poll last year, said Eric Rademacher, the institute’s interim co-director.

If you only listened to Fox News, Lou Dobbs and talk radio, you would assume that the entire nation is outraged by the conecpt of earned citizenship for illegals (which some call amnesty). Last year many in the media assumed that this issue would be crucial in the 2008 elections. Yet we don’t hear anything about it.

All of the Republican candidates who tried to exploit conservative anger about immigration flamed out in the primaries. Even one-time “moderates” like Rudy Giuliani flipped last year and tried to demogogue the issue in order to get the Republican nomination. He got crushed in the primaries.

America is getting serious again. We’re going through tough economic times, so it’s harder for politicians to distract the electorate with side issues like Bill Ayers, guns and illegals.

The next president will have a huge opportunity to pass a common-sense compromise on this issue that beefs up border security and provides a rational method for illegals to earn the right to stay in this country. The political rewards from such a compromise would be significant as well.

  

Obama opens lead in Ohio

The Ohio polls are starting to break for Barack Obama. The latest polls from the Columbus Dispatch gives him a 7-point lead over John McCain.

Amid growing concerns about the economy, Ohio Democrats are coming home to Sen. Barack Obama, giving him a 7-point advantage in a new Dispatch Poll as the volatile presidential campaign swings into its final month.

The Illinois senator’s lead of 49 percent to 42 percent over Republican Sen. John McCain comes at an especially opportune time for Obama because thousands of Ohioans already are casting ballots in the state’s first presidential election allowing any registered voter to vote absentee. The new setup takes away some of the heft from the adage “the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.”

Ohio is even more critical to McCain’s campaign this year since he pulled out of Michigan last week. Not only has no Republican ever won the presidency without carrying the Buckeye State, McCain almost has to run the 2004 electoral table to win, carrying every single state President Bush won four years ago, including Ohio.

Early voting is very important this year in Ohio. Obama’s campaign has a huge ground game in the state which should help with turnout.

  

Hillary’s push for Obama in Ohio

Barack Obama has been rebounding in the polls, but he still has a tough road ahead of him in Ohio. Fortunately, Hillary is ready to help out in the Buckeye State.

Hillary just held a private conference call with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and dozens of donors to her campaign and to Ohio Dems, urging them to plow funds into the coffers of the Ohio state party so it can help execute the ground game on Barack Obama’s behalf, a Hillary aide confirms to me.

“There isn’t any doubt that Ohio once again will be the pivotal state in this election and I know that it’s extremely close in the state,” Hillary told the donors, according to excerpts of the call sent our way by her office.

Hillary also promised extensive future visits to the state on Obama’s behalf. “I will be back campaigning up and down the state to make the case that the failed leadership of the last eight years should not be rewarded with another four,” she told the donors.

Obama’s team has been working closely with Hillary and Governor Strickland. They have an excellent ground game and lots of new voters. It will be interesting to see if that puts Obama over the top. I still think he has better opportunities in Virginia and Colorado, but he can probably lock up the election with wins in either Ohio or Florida.

  

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland will speak at Democratic Convention

The Barack Obama campaign gave a prime speaking spot to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on Tuesday night. Naturally, Ohio is a battleground state, and according to Strickland, the Obama team knows what they’re doing.

Strickland said he told Obama campaign leaders in Chicago that there are two ways to run statewide in Ohio: the Kerry strategy, focused on the metropolitan areas, or the “Strickland-Brown” strategy of focusing on all parts of Ohio, specifically suburban cities and counties as well as the rural areas.

“I believe the fact that the Obama campaign has already deployed the field staff they have, and the fact that every part of this state is being targeted, means that Senator Obama will not repeat the Kerry mistake,” Strickland said. “I have never seen a presidential campaign in Ohio come anywhere close to where this campaign is, organizationally and in terms of having actual man and woman power in the field.”

To reach out to rural and suburban areas, the Obama campaign is recruiting “neighborhood team leaders” to build networks of local volunteers to persuade voters on face-to-face, instead of relying on television advertisements alone. There is one leader for each of the designated 1,200 neighborhoods in Ohio, which contains 5 to 10 precincts, according to Pickrell.

First, the team leader assembles a neighborhood volunteers and then sends them to knock and call on homes to persuade voters. Pickrell said this operation is the heart of the Ohio campaign.

“This is really the crux of it,” Pickrell said. “The neighbor to neighbor approach is exactly the way we need to go about it here to win.”

Pickrell said office openings in far-flung areas have attracted great enthusiasm from locals, like the 300 who turned out in Lima for the Obama office opening.

For all of the enthusiasm, Strickland said Obama won’t win every county, but that isn’t the absolute goal.

“I want to be candid with you,” Strickland said. “Is Senator Obama going to win every county? Is he going to win every region? Probably not, but in some of these heavily Republican counties, we can go from 29 percent to perhaps 38 percent. And in some counties we can go from 38 percent to 44 percent. So I’m confident that the strategy that’s being followed here will be effective because it’s going to be an attempt to reach every voter in every part of Ohio.”

It’s so refreshing to see a Democratic campaign for President that actually gets it. Some have criticized the Obama campaign for using resources in long-shot states like Georgia and Montana, but it’s clear they are not neglecting the swing states.

  

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