The Battle for the Presidency ... of Ohio?

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

Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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Digging Deep

Across the sparsely populated Appalachian foothills along the Ohio River, the legacy of closed coal mines and shuttered factories endures. One in every five people in Meigs County, for example, lives in poverty, as does one out of every three children. It's the poorest part of the state, with a September unemployment rate of 10.7 percent. Romney has the clear advantage here; voters decidedly supported John McCain in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Yet the Obama campaign continues its efforts here, understanding that in a close election like this one, the votes from these less populated counties could collectively prove key.

Left: Coal miners listen to Mitt Romney during a campaign event at American Energy Corp. in Beallsville, Ohio, on Aug. 14, 2012.