What’s the deal with Ohio?
The conventional wisdom (meaning Nate Silver and the mainstream media) is that Obama is going to win the electoral college even if he loses the popular vote because he has a stranglehold on Ohio. Ohio is an important swing state and it's almost certain that if Romney wins there that it will be a very short night for Obama. But what's the real state of the race there? The RCP average of Ohio polls has Obama ahead by 2.3 points. Since D/R/I splits on these polls have been all over the place I have been looking at the independent vote. Nationally, as I've pointed out, Romney is leading with independents by a good margin (anywhere from 4% - 12% depending on the poll). In Ohio the story is scrambled with 3 polls giving Obama the edge among independents and 5 giving Romney the edge. The most suspect of these polls are the University of Cincinnati poll that gives Obama a +14 among independents and an ARG poll that gives Romney the Independents by a 21 point merging Remarkably the two polls have Obama up by 2 overall.
So what's the deal with Ohio? It's anybody's guess. My gut tells me that Ohio independents aren't that different than independents around the country and that they will go for Mitt Romney but also that Dem turnout is going to be stronger in Ohio than nationally. So my overall takeaway is that Ohio is very winnable for Romney and if he has the kind of popular vote win nationally that I'm projecting he should carry this state and win the election.