Cuyahoga County has historically been a bell weather county for determining the outcome of elections in Ohio. Not in direct terms of saying that if Candidate A wins Cuyahoga County by x percentage of points that he will win Ohio by x percentage of votes, but that Cuyahoga County has a large enough number of registered voters that you can statistically determine how many total votes each candidate will get in Ohio based on how many votes are cast for each party in Cuyahoga County.
Fox News recently reported that Ohio lost 490,000 registered voters since the 2008 election, with 44% lost from Cuyahoga County. According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, that equals 208,207 fewer total registered voters in 2012 compared to 2008. The Cuyahoga County Board of elections also reports the breakdown of party affiliation for registered voters. Since 2008, Cuyahoga County has experienced a loss of 48,872 Democratic registered voters and 194,199 Independent Registered voters. That total does not add up to 208,207 voters.
The Fox News article fails to mention that Cuyahoga County has gained 34,864 Republican voters since the 2008 election. Based on presidential elections from 1980 to 2008 an average 17% of the total Democrat votes cast in Ohio were cast in Cuyahoga County. In recent years, this has declined (to around 15.6% in 2008) as Cuyahoga County continues to lose population to surrounding counties.
During the same time period, on average, 9.3% of the total Republican ballots cast in Ohio were cast in Cuyahoga County. However, due to population loss, the number has declined to 7.5% in 2008. Since 1980, the average voter turnout for Cuyahoga County is 64.57%. Past election results help predict future election results. Using this knowledge the number of votes that the Republican and Democratic candidates may receive on Election Day can be predicted. Because of Cuyahoga County’s aforementioned historical accuracy in predicting elections it is assumed that future election Ohio vote totals can be predicted based on Cuyahoga County.
The key to predicting each candidate’s vote share is determining the Independent vote split for each of the Republican and the Democrat candidates. Because of voter confidentiality it is not known precisely how many Republicans, Democrats or Independents voted for any particular candidate in the previous elections. However, statistical analysis can estimate voter percentages based on historical voter turnout.
The first step in this analysis is to take the number of registered voters by party then proportion the total votes received for each candidate by the turnout percentage on Election Day. For example: in 2008, Cuyahoga County voter turnout was 60.34%. That 60.34% multiplied by the total number of registered Democrat voters (395,514) equals 238,656 registered Democrat voters in 2008.
In 2008, Obama received 458,204 votes in Cuyahoga County. To estimate how many Independents voted for Obama in 2008, first take the total votes for Obama (458,204) less the proportion of registered Democrats (238,656) to get the approximate 215,548 Independent voters that voted for Obama. This is roughly 35.1% of total registered Independents in Cuyahoga County. Performing the same calculations for Republicans voters shows that 55,161 registered Republicans and 144,703 Independents (23.1%) voted for McCain in 2008.
This same procedure can be performed for each election since 1980 showing that on average 28.2% of the registered Independents historically vote Democrat and 30.3% historically vote Republican. The 2012 vote totals for Romney and Obama can be predicted using this historical 64.57% average turnout for elections since 1980. The projection is that Obama will receive 345,693 votes to Romney’s 212,178 in Cuyahoga County.
Using the Cuyahoga County voter numbers discussed at the beginning of the article, Obama and Romney 2012 Ohio vote totals can be determined. In 2008 Cuyahoga County accounted for 15.6% of all the votes that Obama received (this number may in fact be closer to 15% as the population in Cuyahoga County continues to shrink).
Based on this the prediction can be made that in 2012, Obama will receive 2,215,978 votes and Romney would win 2,829,037 votes if 7.5% of the total votes cast for Republicans were cast in Cuyahoga County. Romney would win 56.1% of the Ohio’s vote to Obama’s 43.9% with a turnout percentage of 64.67%. This analysis includes the assumption that total turnout will be much lower than past Ohio elections, confirming reports that overall enthusiasm is down for this presidential election compared to 2008.
Critics of this technique will say that too many assumptions are made in the analysis, including assuming the turnout of Cuyahoga County in 2012 as well as the possible independent vote split for the County. However, even if same turnout as in 2008 is used and the same vote split of Independent for Obama and Romney in 2012 as it was for Obama and McCain in 2008, then Romney would win 50.36% of the vote to Obama’s 49.64%. Simply stated, Cuyahoga County has lost enough Democrats and Independents since 2008, that when projected across the state of Ohio, Obama’s big 2008 gains are all gone.
The analysis does not guarantee that Romney will win Ohio by 12%, but with certainty the data does support that the changes in voter registration in Cuyahoga County have made it extremely difficult for Obama to win Ohio. This simple model estimation shows that with certainty current polling estimations in Ohio are based on outdated or ill-informed assumptions resulting in wrong conclusions. Given how drastically voter registration has changed in Cuyahoga County since 2008, it is likely that Romney can carry the State of Ohio, which is quite contrary to what popular media polls are saying.http://www.electioninsight.biz/news.html