The Battle for the Presidency ... of Ohio?

By Lauren Vicary - 2012-11-02T02:35:20Z

Photograph by Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

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The "Tipping Point" State

Ohio, once illustrative of Rust Belt despair, is outpacing the national economy, thanks in part to the auto industry bailout. Its jobless rate dropped to 7 percent in September, 3.6 percentage points lower than its July, 2009, peak. Since the recession's end, Ohio has added 136,800 new jobs, a 2.7 percent gain, ahead of the nation's 2.3 increase. Whether voters here credit President Obama with their bouncing back -- or support Mitt Romney, who pledges to do more -- it's a "tipping point" state, according to electoral calculus guru Nate Silver. As of Nov. 1, Silver ranks Ohio as the No. 1 tipping point state, giving it a 48.1 percent chance of providing the decisive electoral vote.

Left: An employee works on a Jeep Liberty at Chrysler's complex in Toledo on Nov. 16, 2011. Chrysler is investing $1.7 billion to update a Jeep SUV and add a second shift at this factory.