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Election Day: Does Obama have the edge? (+video)

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“That might not matter if Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 39 percent to 32 percent, as they did in the 2008 exit poll,” writes Mr. Barone, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “But just about every indicator suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting – and about their candidate – than they were in 2008, and Democrats are less so.”

So unlike a lot of the other handicappers, he puts Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and most important, Ohio, in the Romney column. Barone’s bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223.

Romney could lose some of those states and still win the election, but he can’t lose Ohio. The hype is true: Ohio really is the firewall for Obama. And some Republicans are less confident about Ohio than Barone. Ford O’Connell, head of the conservative Civic Forum PAC, says that while the enthusiasm is there for Romney in southern Ohio – coal country, where Environmental Protection Agency regulations are unpopular – Romney continues to struggle across the northern part of the state.

“For some reason – whether it’s the auto bailout or whatever – he [Romney] cannot seem to get what he needs to get with white working-class voters between Toledo and Akron,” says Mr. O’Connell.

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