Ohio County Targeted by UK Paper Voted for Bush

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:15 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A swing county in the decisive battleground state of Ohio that was subjected to a controversial campaign by a pro-Kerry British newspaper, swung to the Republicans in Tuesday's election.

According to results published by CNN, President Bush won Clark County by 34,444 votes to 32,824 -- a difference of 1,620 votes.

In 2000, Al Gore won Clark County by just 324 votes (27,984 votes to 27,660).

In mid-October, Britain's left-wing Guardian newspaper handed out more than 14,000 names and mailing addresses of registered but non-party-affiliated voters in Clark County to its readers, urging them to write to the Americans and share their opinions on the election.

The paper received thousands of angry responses from Americans and Guardian staff, who were themselves inundated with hostile emails.

After hackers broke into the paper's website, the Guardian decided to call off its "Operation Clark County."

Late last month an Ohio Republican spokesman was quoted as saying Clark County voters were outraged by the "tacky publicity stunt conducted by an anti-Bush publication to manipulate the vote in Ohio."

The campaign had fired up the party base, he said.

The Guardian's online edition Thursday makes a brief reference to the outcome in Clark County, quoting a local Democratic official as saying it was hard to tell whether the paper's campaign had any effect. "Local observers believe a gay marriage measure led to a large rightwing turnout," the Guardian added.

On a Guardian newsblog, however, one participant had a different proposition: "Just wanted to thank the Guardian for helping deliver Ohio to Bush," he wrote. "Cheers!"

See earlier story:
UK Paper Urges Readers to Lobby US Voters (Oct. 15, 2004)

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow