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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ohio Presidential Primary Warning: Don't Believe Everything On The Blogs

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Somebody posted a detailed statewide analysis of Ohio's congressional districts on Buckeye State Blog. It purports to explain how each district should be expected to vote in the March 4 presidential primary. But what appears expert or credible can be quite deceiving. The author reports that 40% of the residents in OH-02 -- a congressional district with some of the state's poorest counties -- are college graduates. That 40% number is a grossly exaggerated figure, a pie-in-the-statistic that makes the depressed Ohio River Valley into Ohio's super-educated valley. The truth: Most counties in OH-02 have fewer college grads than Ohio as a whole, a state where just 13.7% of the adult population holds a bachelor's degree.

Here's what was reported:

"CD 2 -- (Cincinnati suburbs and rural Ohio River counties) Represented by Mean Jean Schmidt, this district has a low African American population, although almost 40% of district residents have a BA or a graduate degree. Hillary should win this district, but not by a large margin, resulting in another 2-2 split."

There are five Appalachian counties and portions of two others in OH-02. In the five Appalachian counties, there are more high school dropouts than grads. And Hamilton and Warren counties -- Cincinnati and its fastest growing suburb -- don't come anywhere close to the 40% college grad level. The latest demographic data available from the Ohio Department of Development for the OH-02 counties shows:

1. Adams County -- 31.4% of adult residents did not finish high school; 4.4% have bachelor degrees.
2. Brown County -- 25.2% no h.s.; 5.5% have BA/BS.
3. Clermont County -- 18% no h.s.; 14% have BA/BS.
4. Hamilton County (Cincinnati) -- 17.3% no h.s.; 18.5% have BA/BS.
5. Pike County -- 29.9% no h.s.; 6.3% have BA/BS.
6. Scioto County -- 25.9% no h.s.; 6.4% have BA/BS.
7. Warren County -- 13.8% no h.s.; 19.3% BA/BS.


  1. I wonder if they meant 40% of registered Dems.

    Or maybe they just meant 40 people, period.

    (You think I'm being snarky, but just drive out there sometime).

  2. Westender --

    I don't know how anybody who knows anything about Ohio could say that 40% of the residents of the 2nd District are college grads. It was either a mistake, a typo, or a pretension of expertise. Ohio would be a fantastic place if we had a district with 40% college grads. I guess we can keep dreaming.

  3. Heh.

    I'm going to point out the fact that I didn't write that post...but regardless of that error, I think it's a good piece nonetheless.


  4. Hey Jerid --

    It is an interesting piece. Not saying you screwed up, and I extend an apology if what appeared on TDB was perceived that way. Meant it to flash a caution sign to all. That everybody needs to watch out a bit. The devil is in the details.

    I was fascinated by the author's take on West Ohio -- the I-75 belt of counties and districts between Cincy and Toledo. That may be Ohio's most conservative region. Even the Dems see the world differently than those in Shaker Heights and Clifton down here. That belt (except for Dayton) is the GOP's "gold coast" in Ohio. And I wonder if it really could have as many pro-Obama votes as the analyst sees. You are from that region -- what do you think? My guess is that Hillary has her strongest support now in rural Ohio.