FOSTORIA, Ohio (TDB) -- An Ohio contact in Washington , a Buckeye transplanted to the White House grounds, likes to keep his eye on the political pulse back home and steered The Daily Bellwether to Rep. Paul Gillmor's newly released annual constituent survey, which offers a snaphot of public opinion across 14 counties. It shows that 38.7 % of the respondents -- primarily people in rural Northwest Ohio -- now consider the ''War on Terror' the most important issue facing Congress. That's a big drop since President George W. Bush ran for re-election.
Other tidbits: Gillmor has recently started a blog, but only 9% of his constituents have ever read a blog. And Internet use in OH-05 is way below national levels. Only 55% there vs. about 70% nationally, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, which tracks online trends.
What the Buckeye found interesting, however, is what the Ohio Republican didn't mention on this year's survey report, or anywhere else recently. Some 61% considered the war "most important" two years ago, a steep decline on an issue that has come to define the presidency of George W. Bush. The drop shows up only in this Gillmor press release when he released his survey results from a year ago.
Northwest Ohio is reliably Republican and conservative and represents a slice of Middle America. Despite the growing uncertainty over success in Iraq, 57.9% of those who took part in Gillmor's survey said U.S. troops should stay until ''democracy is stabilized and peace has been restored." The Buckeye wondered why Gillmor did not disclose what the percentages were in 2004 and 2005 (if he asked the question).
Gillmor's complete survey is here. A map of OH-05 is here compliments of Wikipedia.
Some political scientists consider Sandusky County in OH-05 an important bellwether in presidential elections. They say that if Sandusky votes Democratic in a presidential year, the Dem candidate should carry Ohio, a swing state that traditionally determines who moves into the White House.
Gillmor's blogging hasn't exactly been stimulating and there's a sample here. But at least he's dived into the 'sphere.