SOUTHEAST OHIO: This is Appalachia, stretching through small towns and hills along the Ohio River and then up along the West Virginia border in coal country.
It had been traditionally a swing area — Bill Clinton carried it twice, as did George W. Bush. But John McCain captured much of the region in 2008, despite losing Ohio. It's a predominantly white region, with Bible Belt conservatism on such issues as opposing abortion and gay marriage.
Romney has been playing on concerns about the future of the coal industry and thinks his campaign will improve on McCain's showing — and possibly turn a strip of three eastern Ohio counties — Belmont, Jefferson and Monroe — red for the first time since Richard Nixon won them in 1972.
Sewell reported from Cincinnati, Seewer from Toledo.
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