Just a few four hours remain before the Ohio votes are counted. Thousands of early votes have been cast, and thousands more will be cast at the polls. Here are two things that make Ohio really matter this year:
1. Ohio is divisively regional: It is a state just big enough to have region that behave like mini-state inside of it. Each of these regions have very different political angles and, what's more, most of the issues this election cycle has focused on are near and dear to the hearts of Ohioians —wherever they may hail from
2. Early votes cast the trend I believe that this election will have very few twists and turns. Ohio's no-fault absentee voting policy makes the first few hours of ballot-counting a statistically-sound sample of how the rest of the state will vote. Thousands of ballots have been already cast, and as those first ballots are counted, the winning candidate will appear.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of Ohio live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page:
12:09 p.m: Pundits are always musing about the weather, but the weather is never more temperamental than it is in the Midwest. The weather can often be a cruel mistress, in these parts, but it appears the weather will be ripe for standing outside, in line at the polls.
It should be sunny and clear (albeit chilly) through the evening when polls close in the Buckeye state at 7:30p.m.
Good news Ohioians, lines appear to be short and few issues have been reported. Franklin County, Ohio is reporting long lines, but that doesn't seem to be impeding voter turnout. Franklin County is where Columbus is located, along with an affluent, suburban population. This county, though comfortable space for Democrats in the city, holds the more Republicans than any other county in the state.
4:09 p.m.: Just three and a half hours until polls close and Facebook is a-twitter with voters ready for the election to be over. How many happy-go-lucky volunteers have rapped on your door today, reminding you to vote? How many GOTV calls have you avoided? Texts ignored? Even the most devout politicos have grown weary. But don't fret, the results are soon to come in.
According to this inforgraphic updated with real-time polling information, Ohio stands among 8 toss-up states within 3% of favoring either candidate.
6:18 p.m.: First 1% of votes from Kentucky and Indiana have Romney up roughly 60% to Obama's 30% in these states. These voters in these states have been reported to cite the economy as their biggest issue in this election. Will this show as the advantage for Romney? Will this attitude carry over to manufacturing-entrenched Ohio?
6:58 p.m.: with 69% of precincts voting Vigo County, Ind. has Romney with a narrow edge over President Obama. The reuslts of Vigo County has correctly predicted the overall outcome of the presidential election with only 2 exceptions. Will this be a third?
7:07 p.m.: Youth vote stands proportionally where is was in 2008 with evangelical votes down slightly.
7:10 p.m.: CNN reports the higher number of registered African American voters than in 2008-- Will we see the impact of a greater African American vote in Ohio?
Key cities in Ohio:
Cleveland: 53%African American
Youngstown: 45% African American
Columbus: 28% African American
Toledo: 50% African American
Cincinnati: 44% African American
7:19 p.m.: "Obama looking very strong in the Midwest" via CNN.
7:28 p.m.: Obama takes Cuyahoga County. #Cleveland
7:45 p.m.: Back to Vigo County, Ind.: Romney losing by fewer than 100 votes in the clairvoyant county with 99% of precincts reporting.
8:03 p.m.: 11 of 14 Ohio counties reporting have gone to Romney.
8:11 p.m.: via CNN early votes favor Obama
8:29 p.m.: crucial manufacturing regions around Celveland and Toledo turning blue.
8:36 p.m.: Vigo County barely goes to President Obama. Prediction: Obama to take his second term, but only by a hair's breadth. Let's set the over- under for electoral votes at 278
8:56 p.m.: Romney holding a brief lead over Obama in electoral votes. Takes 270 votes to win.
9:00 p.m.: Obama solidly carrying the Buckeye state. The president has swept key counties containing Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus
10:20 p.m.: "This is going to be a repudiation of the Republican Party."
-Election Night, CNN
10:23 p.m.: President Obama hanging onto lead in Ohio 50%- 47%
11:03 p.m.: Obama claims 238 electoral votes. Ohio, with 65% reporting, is comfortably in Obama territory.
Almost the entire Midwest has been handed over to Obama.