Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was scheduled to campaign Monday in the key swing state of Ohio for the first time in about a month. And with just 36 days to go until the Nov. 8 election, the pressure is on for the candidate to try to sway undecided voters in the battleground state that could very well decide who wins the White House.
The old motto goes, "as goes Ohio, so goes the nation," hinting at the fact that no Democrat has won a presidential election without the state since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Clinton might not actually need the state to win, but she's pushing hard for it nonetheless, holding an event in Akron and delivering an economic speech in Toledo with just a week before the voter registration deadline in the state.
Looking at most projections, Clinton has more electoral votes already locked up, but Trump's chances are tied to his ability to win the few battleground states still up for grabs. Trump has a far narrower path to the White House, and without wins in both Ohio and Florida, for instance, he's likely done. Clinton, however, could lose both of those states and still have a very plausible path to winning, through victories in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado.
The latest polls show things have tightened in the Rust Belt state. Trump holds a 1.8 percentage point advantage, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. A Gravis poll performed from Sept. 22-23 had the GOP nominee up by 1 point. A Fox News poll before that gave him a 5-point lead, while a Suffolk University poll from Sept. 12-14 had Trump up 3 points. All of these polls were conducted before the first presidential debate was won by Clinton in convincing fashion, according to polls of voters. A poll from William & Mary and TargetSmart released the same day as the debate found Clinton was up by 3 points. As of early Monday morning, data-driven website FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 53.5 percent chance of winning Ohio in their polls-only election forecast. Clinton had a 46.5 percent chance.
Clinton, however, scored a major Ohio endorsement ahead of her visit. NBA star LeBron James, proud son of Akron and the man who finally delivered the tortured city of Cleveland a professional sports championship ring, announced he was onboard with Clinton.
"I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified," he wrote in an editorial about his endorsement. "Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need."