Is the U.S. election really a neck-and-neck race, like the pollsters in the mainstream media keep reporting? Not really.
It would be close, if the popular vote indeed decided the Presidency, but it's the Electoral College that determines who wins. In almost every state, it's winner-take-all for the state's Electoral College votes. That's why Obama and Romney don't bother to campaign in California, New York, or Texas; the outcomes there are "givens." The swing-states are where the action is -- and this time around, Ohio is the "swingyest" of them all.
As of today, Obama has a solid lock on 247 electoral votes from the blue states, according to Electoral-Vote.com. If Obama wins Ohio's 18 electoral votes, his total comes up to 265 -- and he needs 270 to win. To clinch a second term, he needs to win only one of Nevada (6), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), or Florida (29). Romney would have to win all of them without Ohio.
Obama is polling ahead of Romney in Ohio. Adding to this, the U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to block early voting in Ohio, which means roughly 100,000 people -- the majority of whom are Democrats -- will be able to vote the weekend before election day.
It's only fitting that Ohio save Obama. After all, Obama saved Ohio with the bailout of the auto industry. Ohio's many auto parts manufacturing companies owe a lot to him.
FiveThirtyEight.com takes these Electoral College votes into account and gives Obama 66 per cent chance of winning -- a far cry from the 50:50 foot race we've been seeing in the popular vote polls.
The media will still portray this as closer race than it is, if only for the suspenseful theatre. Admittedly a lot can happen between now and election day, but the Electoral College polls are starting to solidify around an Obama Presidency for a second term.