John Avlon Independent Nation

10.17.12

Will an Energy Boom Swing Ohio?

Among key swing voters in Ohio, the difference an energy boom has made in their local economy may be the final factor at the polls.

I spent the weekend in Ohio, and filed this report for CNN on how a natural gas energy boom in the bellwether northeastern region of the state is the final factor for many swing voters in the area.

Their votes may break down to simple but changing realities about dollars and acres:

“For decades, the economic news here has been grim. Once the breadbasket and manufacturing backbone of the nation, Ohio has been hit hard by outsourcing while family farms have been under constant pressure.

“But a bright spot has suddenly emerged after decades of struggle, an energy boom brought on by natural gas and oil wells. Suddenly, local farmland that had been worth $15 per acre six years ago was valued at $5,800 per acre and leases allow farmers to keep a portion of the royalties if oil and gas are found.”

Among the swing voter farmers of Carroll County, this energy boom – and the struggles residents faced before it brought life back to their local economy – is the final factor when they look at the two presidential candidates.

“I don’t think they know what the real world lives like,” Paul Naylor, a retired power company worker, told me. “You can’t ever know if you have an elevator in your garage and know what the real world lives like. Really? Can you? I would like to see either one of ‘em try to make it on a salary of people around here. They couldn’t do it.”

Read the full report at CNN.