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National

In Ohio, Trump Finds Support From Many Democrats

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Well, let's talk about this election some more with a man who has seen many elections here in Ohio. He's a veteran political reporter, Howard Wilkinson of WVXU. We're in their studios.

Good morning.

HOWARD WILKINSON, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: Thanks for coming in early.

WILKINSON: Sure.

INSKEEP: So Donald Trump was hoping to get a lot of Democrats like the Surellas.

WILKINSON: Right.

INSKEEP: Is he?

WILKINSON: He is to a certain extent. The Surellas are a little bit different in that they're - they seem to be in a different economic situation. They seem to be OK. Most of his support with blue-collar Democrats is coming from areas where people have lost jobs - the steel industry, the coal industry, both of which have tanked in Ohio over the last few decades. And he's picking up a whole lot of Democrats who are anti-trade deals and who respond to the message.

INSKEEP: M.L. Schultze, though, pointed out in a very interesting way that Ford is actually moving jobs in here...

WILKINSON: Yes.

INSKEEP: ...That there are NASA jobs here. When we think about Ohio, this vital state, should we think of a Rust Belt disaster, or should we think of a state that's on the way up? What should we think about it?

WILKINSON: Well, I mean, I think we're - we should be thinking about a state that's on the way up actually. I mean, if you look back at the 2008 recession and where we were at that point, the jobs that were lost in that recession have been restored. They've come back. They're not quite the same kind of jobs. They're not the smokestack jobs anymore. But relatively speaking, Ohio's economy is fairly good right now.

INSKEEP: Very briefly, are Democrats well-organized in Ohio? Are Republicans well-organized and behind Donald Trump?

WILKINSON: In Ohio, the Democrats - the Hillary Clinton campaign is very well-organized on the ground. They have, like, 64 field offices in big cities, in suburban areas, in small towns. They have thousands of volunteers who are out phone banking, canvassing, doing all that kind of work. Now...

INSKEEP: Republicans?

WILKINSON: Republicans have the same thing. But Trump - they don't have as many of these offices where they're working out of. But they do have a ground operation that works with a county party organizations for the most part.

INSKEEP: And are they with Trump? Are they for Trump actively?

WILKINSON: They are with him for the most part. I mean, there are still some reluctant Republicans that you'll find in every county in this state.

INSKEEP: OK. Howard Wilkinson of WVXU, thanks for adding your insight this morning. I really appreciate it.

WILKINSON: Thank you.

INSKEEP: We are reporting from Ohio, one of the Divided States of America the weekend of a presidential debate. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.