From The Columbus Dispatch

The center of Ohio has become center stage in American presidential elections.

So says the creator of ohioelectionresults.com, a free website that is the most comprehensive compilation of Ohio election data ever assembled, according to political junkies who have previewed it.

“Central Ohio is the nation’s new presidential battleground,” said Mike Dawson, who officially launched the new site yesterday.

The 20-county Columbus media market, overwhelmingly Republican since the early 20th century, gradually has become a key swing area and will be a focal point of the 2016 presidential race, Dawson said.

During the past four decades, the Columbus region has gained strength, going from 15 percent of the statewide vote in 1976 to 20 percent in 2012. That’s been good news for Democrats.

In the five presidential elections between 1976 and 1992, GOP nominees won an average of 20 percent more votes than Democrats. But in the five elections between 1996 and 2012, that margin narrowed to 2.4 percent.

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