President Obama's lead over likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in swing state Ohio can be traced in part to the auto bailout, observers say.
Democratic strategists and independent political also note Obama's strategy is to appeal to blue-collar workers and noted that Ohio's 7.2 percent unemployment rate is 1 percentage point lower than the national average, The Hill reported Thursday.
RealClearPolitics.com's average of polls indicated Obama held a 4.8 percentage point lead over Romney. A Quinnipiac University-CBS News-New York Times poll Wednesday indicated Obama holds a 6 percentage point edge over Romney in the Buckeye State.
"Romney is going to have to do something very unusual to take Ohio away from the president," said Jim Friedman, a Cleveland lawyer involved in the state's Democratic Party.
Observers say the auto bailout is perhaps Obama's trump card.
Obama's support and Romney's opposition to the bailout ring out in Ohio, where the car industry "is both historically and psychologically important," Friedman said.
"Even though the automotive industry in Ohio is much smaller than it once was, Ohio voters still think of it as critically important," he said.
Romney, meanwhile, is trying to challenge Obama on the bailout. On Wednesday, his campaign released a television ad featuring an Ohio car dealership owner who blamed the bailout for forcing General Motors dealerships such as his to close.
"I think the polls show the race is competitive. I expect it to remain competitive, and I think that is a good sign for Gov. Romney," Curt Steiner, a Republican strategist in Ohio, told The Hill.
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