Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dan Coffey: The Myth of the Ohio Bellwether County

My colleague, Professor Dan Coffey, the primary author of Buckeye Battleground, has written a highly-relevant post that should be of much interest as we enter the final few days of the 2012 presidential election. It is titled "The Myth of the Ohio Bellwether County."

Coffey observes that: "One of the questions that I often get is what counties are the most important bellwethers for Ohio. Many pundits claim that these counties can predict the outcome of the national election and so observers should keep a close eye on them (see here or here). Generally, I point out that this notion is largely a myth and...go through some of the reasons these “bellwether” counties are competitive, but why the impact of these counties tends not to mean that much in helping to understand the presidential race in Ohio."

Instead Coffey argues observers should focus on regions: "it is not really useful to think of individual counties. Rather counties are within regions and regional differences do tell us something important, a point which me and my co-authors make in covering the Five Ohios in our book Buckeye BattlegroundIndividual counties are often driven by the same sets of forces, and aggregating counties into regions provides a better sense of the whole picture.

Coffey's post is located here: "The Myth of the Ohio Bellwether County."


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