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Final lap, Romney, Obama focus on key states

Nov 5th, 2012 - National News

Whoever wins Ohio has a simpler path to the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency and the fact is not lost on President Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney on election eve.

Both men will hit the important battleground state today, along with other key stops.

Obama holds rallies Wisconsin and Iowa while Romney has events in Florida, Virginia and New Hampshire.

— Ohio could well decide the next president.

The state has chosen the winner in the last 12 presidential elections, and it's pivotal to the strategies of both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The Ohio winner has usually done particularly well in his party's traditionally strong areas, and better than expected in other regions.

The state's geography is often divided regionally as the "Five Ohios" — the northeast, northwest, central, southeast and southwest parts of the state.

Obama needs to pile up votes in northeast Ohio, the state's Democratic stronghold, anchored by Cleveland and the industrial towns of Youngstown and Akron.

Romney seeks big numbers in southwest Ohio, where the conservative suburban crescent around Cincinnati is Republican turf.

— Florida is proving to be an expensive and frustrating state for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, right down to the campaign's final minutes.

Its voters resist arguments that play well in Ohio and other places. Both nominees are making stops in Florida in the campaign's final 40 hours.

Florida is a tough sell for Obama's national message of steady economic recovery. Its unemployment and foreclosure rates remain above the national average.

And auto industry ads airing in Ohio would make no sense in Florida. But a well-organized Democratic ground game and a population that's increasingly non-white have given the president hope of winning Florida narrowly.

Romney had hoped to lock up Florida long ago.

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