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Is Mitt Romney's Ohio bus tour a waste of his time?

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(Read caption) The Monitor's Liz Marlantes looks at the potential electoral-college math post-convention to see which candidate might be in a better position.
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Should Mitt Romney really be spending any more of what little time he has left in Ohio? 

We ask this as Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, embark on a three-day bus tour in the Buckeye State (actually, it’s a three-day tour for Mr. Ryan; Mr. Romney is joining the tour a day late).

Yes, Ohio has long been seen as critical for Romney. At this point, anyone and everyone who follows politics can probably recite the mantra: “No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio." And it’s true that pulling out of Ohio would likely be interpeted as a sign of bigger troubles for the Romney campaign.

But at some point in every election, it becomes clear that certain states regarded as "tossups" are probably lost causes for one candidate or the other. And for some time now, Ohio has not looked good for Romney. President Obama has held a lead in the Buckeye State for many months, and recent polls show that lead is growing. A new Washington Post poll out Tuesday has Obama up in Ohio by eight points – prompting The Post’s political blog "The Fix" to move the state from “tossup” to “lean Obama.”

The reasons behind Ohio’s more Obama-friendly environment range from the auto bailout (which remains popular in a state where one out of eight workers is employed in auto-related jobs) to the fact that Ohio’s economy is actually in better shape than the nation’s as a whole. Romney has also failed miserably at telegraphing the kind of cultural populism that has traditionally boosted Republican candidates among Ohio’s white, working class voters.

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