(CHICAGO) - Barack Obama heads into heavy Republican territory today as he kicks off a two-day bus tour in southwest Ohio.
He has not campaigned in the state since early September, but a recent jump in state poll numbers may be a sign that Obama could carry Ohio on Nov. 4. According to a CNN/Time poll released last week, Obama leads McCain in the state 50 – 47.
This latest push into Ohio is part of Obama's overall strategy to go on the "offense" in Republican counties in battleground states.
Bush crushed John Kerry in southwestern Ohio in 2004, beating him 60%-40%. However, in the 2006 election, the area swung Democratic for Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sherrod Brown. This shift has boosted the Obama campaign's confidence, leading them to believe that if they generate a high voter turnout, they could win the state.
According to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, 665,949 new voters registered in the state this year. The registration deadline was on Monday. According to the campaign, Brunner predicts an 80% turnout on Election Day, which translates into 6.5 million voters casting ballots. 5.7 million Ohioans voted in the 2004 presidential election.