As Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan frantically campaigns in Ohio, reminding voters in the Buckeye State that "as Ohio goes so goes America," a new Cincinnati Enquirer/Ohio News Organization poll shows that President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney remain stubbornly locked at 49% each in the decisive state.
And Republicans are nervous, feeling that victory is indeed within reach but fearing the fact that a historically close election could be decided "by the toss of a coin." And popular conservatives such as Fox News' Sean Hannity and former presidential candidate and Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum are going even further by suggesting Democrats could use early voting to snatch the election from Romney.
Since 1960, no Republican has won the presidency without also winning Ohio. That's why the Romney campaign, which claims a growing momentum on the wake of its candidate's strong showing in the presidential debates, it's edgy about the president's powerful machine promoting early (and, some say, often) voting to make up for the slip Obama has suffered in the polls.
The Cincinnati Enquirer poll represents a drop for Obama, who polled at 51% in September and has seen his numbers slip amid an average debate performance and the erosion of his likeability numbers because of negative campaigning and a reactive campaign that has gone from Big Bird to "binders full of women" to "Romnesia" to the "New Economic Patriotism" plan (while avoiding questions on the controversial Libya, Benghazi, attack).
However, Team Obama claims to have the advantage in early voting, touting a recent Time magazine poll that shows the president holding a 2 to 1 advantage (60% to 30%) to those hitting the voting booth ahead of Election Day, and Romney and the president tied at 49% among those who plan on voting on November. The president himself made history by becoming the first sitting president ever to vote before Election Day, hoping to lead by example and trying to get as many votes as possible as his numbers go down.