Can Romney really win without Ohio?

Obama is opening up his lead in the Buckeye State, which no successful Republican presidential candidate has ever lost. Does Romney have a Plan B?

Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Bedford Heights, Ohio: No Republican nominee has ever won the presidency without taking Ohio.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

The numbers are looking grim for Mitt Romney. The latest poll from The Washington Post shows President Obama with an eight-point lead in Ohio, which many consider a must-win battleground state for Romney. And a poll from The New York Times/Quinnipiac University/CBS News has Obama with a formidable 10-point lead in the Buckeye State. Romney has started campaigning heavily in Ohio, but the state is increasingly looking out of reach. Can Romney get to 270 electoral votes if Ohio goes blue?

Yes. If he's lucky, Romney doesn't need Ohio: "As pundits repeat ad nauseam," no Republican has "lost Ohio and gone on to win the presidency," says Katrina Trinko at The National Review. "But perhaps 2012 will be the first year that changes." To win without Ohio, Romney will have to sweep the battleground states that are currently considered toss-ups: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. "That's not an easy task — and he's not doing great in the polling in many of those states, either — but it's possible."

"Can Romney win without Ohio?"

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Romney may have to let Ohio go: With Obama "consistently holding a lead in polls of Ohio," Romney "may need to devise a strategy to win the Electoral College without it," says Nate Silver at The New York Times. The Romney campaign would have to "place more emphasis on Iowa and Nevada," while praying that a "shift in the national environment would carry states like Virginia and Florida back" into its column. "It isn't a great plan. But when you're a Republican candidate and are down outside the margin of error in Ohio with six weeks to go, you don't have any great plans."

"Romney's narrow path without Ohio"

Impossible. It's Ohio or bust: While it's technically possible for Romney to win without Ohio, "ultimately, Romney can't count on sweeping New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and Colorado in a close election." says Nate Cohn at The New Republic. The president has "established a clear lead in Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and there are signs that Obama might hold a similar lead in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, or Colorado." Bottom line: "Romney is in danger of getting overwhelmed."

"Obama's bounce cascades across battleground states"

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