I am not sure how to make sense of wildly varying polls on the presidential race. On the one hand, you've got polls such as the new Reason-Rupe survey giving Barack Obama a large 52 percent to 45 percent margin over Mitt Romney and various swing-state polls showing the president walking away with Florida, Ohio, and just about everywhere else. On the other hand, you've got polls such as Rasmussen calling it a tie in general and in swing states too.
Then there's Matt Mayer, a former Bush admin Homeland Security official and former head of the free-market Buckeye Institute, talking about Ohio with National Review:
I don’t want to be the one who contradicts Karl Rove’s view that Romney can win without Ohio, but he can’t. It isn’t just that historically no Republican has won the presidency without Ohio’s electoral votes that “proves” that point. It also is the fact that Ohio is a bell-weather state, so if a candidate cannot win Ohio — especially a candidate operating under a very-low-margin-of-error strategy — the likelihood that that candidate wins enough of the other five to nine toss-up states is not high. We are seeing that in the polling results in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia. The election isn’t over, but it appears that Romney will need a big Obama misstep to win.
In 2011, Reason TV caught up with Mayer shortly after Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) released a budget that increased spending and regulatory hassles.