• Political Analysts say Ohio Holds Key to White House


For the 2012 presidential election, it all comes down to Ohio, Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Moakley Forum, "Why do Swing States Matter," Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, shared the results of his latest poll.

"Ohio is the road to the White House for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney,” he said. The candidates are deadlocked at 47 each percent in the Buckeye State.

For an incumbent, falling below 50 percent is “very dangerous for you because you're the known commodity,” Paleologos said, adding that Obama has some challenges, including the potential impact of third-party candidates in a close race.

A Suffolk poll found that Independent Richard Duncan and Green Party candidate Jill Stein each received two percent of votes already cast. “Those could be Barack Obama voters. In a close race, that’s a big deal,” Paleologos said.

Former Governor Michael Dukakis and former congressman and deputy Republican Party chairman Peter Blute also took part in the panel discussion on presidential politics.

Dukakis, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 against George H.W. Bush, highlighted two things he dislikes about presidential elections—the influence of money and the Electoral College.

Dukakis criticized the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited corporate spending on elections and has paved the way for SuperPACs. "This decision is just, in my judgment, without any constitutional merit at all," he said.

Dukakis also considers the possibility of an election winner losing the popular vote “not very democratic.” According to him, the Electoral College is “a terrible distortion of what ought to be a fully democratic process, in which every American vote counts for one,” and “it should have been abolished 150 years ago.”

Blute agreed with Dukakis on campaign finance, but said he supports the Electoral College because it protects the smaller states.

The event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Public Service, the Moakley Center for Public Management, The Moakley Foundation, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

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