BELLWETHER? LAKE THE NEW STARK
Bellwether’s a funny word you are sure to hear mentioned often leading up to Election Day. By definition bellwether is “an indication of a trend” or “a castrated male sheep.” (Dictionary.com, seriously I’m not making it up.)
For our purposes let us focus on the former and try to erase the mental image of the latter. Ohio is a bellwether state because our voting trends are often reflective of the nation as a whole. But what spots are bellwether’s of the state? Leading up 2004 it was Stark County. That’s why the New York Times covered the Bush-Kerry race through the pen of a reporter living there. Going into the race (with the exception of 1976) they had voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1964. But when the votes were tallied four years ago Stark County had sided with John Kerry, the state with George Bush.
So as I poured over election results in the past couple of years and broke down the numbers I found the new Stark may very well be Lake. Lake County’s numbers in the 2004 race mirrored the state of Ohio, which mirrored the nation.
National Totals; Ohio Lake County:
George Bush 50.73% Bush: 50.81% Bush 51.3%
John Kerry 48.27% Kerry 48.71% Kerry 48.7%
The numbers in the 2006 race U.S. Senate and Governor look similar;
Ohio Lake County:
Sherrod Brown 56.16% Brown 57.14%
Mike DeWine 43.82% DeWine 42.85%
Ohio Lake County:
Ted Strickland 60.54% Strickland 66.32%
Ken Blackwell 36.65% Blackwell 33.67%
Even in the Democratic primary in March the numbers were that far off from the rest of the state;
Ohio: Lake County:
Hillary Clinton: 66.06% Clinton: 62.13%
Barack Obama 30.81% Obama: 36.37%
John Edwards 3.13% Edwards: 1.5%
So what does that mean? For us on election night it may provide us with an early indication of how the state will go. The Lake County Board of Elections is one of the fastest in the state for getting in election results. That’s important because the state numbers will hinge on the Cuyahoga County vote which as we know you can’t put a time frame on. So if you want to get an early indication of who the next president will be you may want to keep your eye on Painesville.