Why Do Election Candidates Often Focus on Getting Votes From Ohio?

Election candidates often focus on getting votes from Ohio because it is a swing state. Ohio, along with Virginia, Florida and Texas, is called a swing state because its citizens do not historically vote Republican or Democrat in successive elections, as of 2015. Although Ohio's citizens do not vote along party lines, they have repeatedly submitted the majority of votes for winning candidates, which makes it a key state to secure votes.

Historically, swing states change in time, but Ohio has been one of the few to remain. Its swing status dates back to the 1800s, when its votes, along with those of Indiana, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut determined the outcome of the 1888 election. More recently, Ohio's citizens secured the presidential wins for President George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008; these presidential candidates were Republican and Democratic, respectively.

Sometimes, presidential hopefuls focus on securing votes from states that voted with a margin majority for opposing party candidates in past elections. In 2012, for instance, Republican candidate Mitt Romney looked to gain votes in North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Ohio. Incumbent President Obama also targeted voters in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Although its party votes vary from one election to the next, certain parts of Ohio historically lean left and right. The industrial cities of Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron and Toledo generally vote Democrat while the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus are historically Republican.