AFL-CIO chief’s prediction: Obama ‘brings home Ohio’

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While national polls have the race between Obama and Mitt Romney in a virtual tie, the president has held a steady lead in surveys of Ohio. The RealClearPolitics’ average of polls shows Obama ahead of Romney in the state by 2.3 points.

AFL-CIO officials touted internal polling that shows Obama winning 57 percent of the union vote in Ohio, which is close to the 59 percent he won in 2008 exit polls, according to a memo prepared by Michael Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director.

“Without the union vote, President Obama would be trailing badly in Ohio,” said the memo. Obama is faring better with white voters in Ohio than he is nationally, according to an AFL-CIO’s analysis of the polls.

The AFL-CIO said one factor helping Obama with Ohio’s white voters is Senate Bill 5, a state law backed by Romney that banned collective bargaining rights for public workers. They say that law, which Ohio voters overturned last year in a referendum, helped energize the state’s working class voters for Democrats. 

“Obama and his allies spent much of the year developing a messaging strategy to make Romney’s economic policies unpalatable to Ohio voters and block his path to the White House. With only days to go until the election, every indication is that their approach is succeeding,” the memo concluded.

Labor has been revving up its ground game to turn out voters for Obama and other Democratic candidates this coming Election Day. In the final four days before Tuesday, the AFL-CIO and its affiliates plan to contact millions of voters through phone and direct mail, as well as through conversations on doorsteps and at work sites. 

Trumka will spend the final four days before Election Day in Ohio. It is expected to be a tight race there — Obama beat Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, by a little more than 4 points in the state.

AFL-CIO officials expect Romney to perform better than McCain did in several Ohio counties in the last presidential election. Podhorzer noted that Romney’s campaign has developed more of a ground game to turn out voters.

“They are certainly doing more than what the McCain campaign did. ... We think ours is better,” Podhorzer said. “We think there is more ground game now than there was from McCain, but our ground game is not bought. Our ground game is volunteers going out, talking to their neighbors, and we think that is going to prevail.”