critical counties stark county ohio

Editor’s Note: Critical Counties is a CNN series exploring 11 counties around the country that chief national correspondent John King has identified as key in the 2016 election. These counties could play an outsize role in the election and offer an instructive example of what the political parties have accomplished. Stark County is the fifth county in the series, which runs through Election Day. Explore the other critical counties.

In this election, as in all others, all eyes are on Ohio.

The quintessential swing state is a must-win for Donald Trump, and signs there have pointed in his favor.

Among his potential prospects: Stark County. Situated in northeast Ohio, Stark is a swing county in the swing state, and it’s a generally accurate bellwether that goes the way of the nation. It has trended Democratic in the past couple of cycles, but this election, it could go Trump.

Much has been made of Trump’s appeal to the white working class, and that’s what this county – a relatively white, less-educated populace – is made up of. But there is always potential for backlash: Google Trends data showed high search interest in “taxes” even before a New York Times report on Trump’s taxes shook up the race.

The Republican nominee has a strong opportunity to overtake Hillary Clinton in Stark County — a low-key victory that could indicate a win in Ohio … and from there, a shot at the presidency.


Ohio is less diverse and somewhat less educated than the nation as a whole, and Stark County is even moreso. The county’s economy has largely tracked with the rest of the country, although Canton, the county seat, is less wealthy with higher poverty rates.

Swing county

Stark County has been very competitive almost since its inception. In 1960, Kennedy lost Stark County but went on to win Ohio. As recently as 2012, the contest came down to barely a percentage point difference.


Bob - (Gibbs)


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