Ohio Polls: Dead Heat, But Here are the 3 Keys to a Romney Victory in Ohio

With just two days until the presidential election, it appears that once again Ohio will decide the next president. If former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wants to defeat President Barrack Obama in the state of Ohio, three things need to happen: Republican-friendly early and absentee voting, a GOP recapturing of Hamilton County, and large voter turnouts in key Republican counties.

The first and one of the most important things that Romney will need is a strong turnout in the early and absentee voting. Early and absentee voting has traditionally favored the Democrats and this was especially the case in 2008.

However, in this year’s election that might not be the case; at least it isn’t the case according to Karl Rove’s latest article in the Wall Street Journal. In the piece, Rove gives data that is extremely devastating to Obama — only 503,813 Democrats had already voted or requested for an absentee ballot. That number may seem like a lot, but that number is 181,275 fewer than in 2008. If 100,000 of those fewer votes came from Cuyahoga County, Obama will be in trouble. (The importance of Cuyahoga County will be discussed later on) The problem for Obama is how much the Republicans have improved since 2008. The data suggests that 448,357. Republicans have either voted early or have requested an absentee ballot. That is an increase of 75,858 voters from 2008. If this data is indeed correct, then it appears that Romney has accomplished the first key to victory.

The second key to a Romney victory victory in Ohio is to recapture Hamilton County. Hamilton County encompasses the city of Cincinnati and the surrounding suburbs. Obama carried Hamilton County in 2008 and it marked the first time since 1964, that a Democratic presidential candidate had done so. The major factor into the flip from Republican to Democrat was the huge turnout among African-Americans and college students. In order for Romney to re-win Hamilton County; he will need a large voter turnout in the suburbs to offset the large African-American vote in Cincinnati.

There are five other counties in Ohio that Romney will need a large voter turnout in order to carry the state. The five counties that Romney will need are Putnam, Holmes, Warren, Auglaize and Union. According to The Plain Dealer these counties are considered the most Republican counties in the state. Romney will need a large voter turnout in these counties to help offset the votes in Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga County is the largest Democrat county in Ohio and the reason it is so important is encompasses the city of Cleveland. According the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections data, Obama received 458,204 votes in 2008 and won the state by only 262,224 votes; so if 100,000 fewer absentee votes come from Cuyahoga County, then Obama is in serious trouble.

In order for Romney to win Ohio he will need: a strong turnout in early and absentee voting, recapture Hamilton County and have large voter turnout in key Republican counties.

Latest presidential polls in Ohio: Rasmussen polls finds Obama and Romney tied at 49%. Nate Silver's 538 blog has Obama ahead.