2012 Ohio Political Maps

2012, Ohio

Source: NY Times

Source: NY Times

Pre-Election Coverage Below

Like 2004, the 2012 Presidential election may come down to who wins Ohio. Polls show Obama with a slight lead over Romney.

Nate Silver at 538 speculates it is due to the auto bailout:

Historically, Ohio has been slightly Republican-leaning relative to the nation. But this year polls suggest that Ohio is slightly Democratic-leaning. That divergence — driven by the auto rescue and the state’s improved economy, local analysts said — may prove determinative. Ohio ranks first on FiveThirtyEight’s tipping point index. The model estimates there is roughly a 50 percent chance that the Buckeye State’s 18 electoral votes will carry the winning candidate past the 270 mark.

He also highlights Stark County as as the bellwether for the statewide vote:

Stark County, anchored by Canton, has been an almost perfect bellwether for the statewide vote in Ohio in the past three presidential elections. Canton tends to vote Democratic, but Stark County also has more rural areas that lean Republican. Stark County was one percentage point more Republican-leaning that Ohio over all in 2008 and 2000 and two points more Republican-leaning in 2004.