Ohio, Ohio, Ohio

Back to the polls.

They’re beginning to show a trend, which is that President Obama is looking more like a lock for re-election. I harken back again to the RealClearPolitics poll average. Today, Obama ticked up to 4 percent over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Let’s look ahead to next week, to the first of three presidential joint appearances. Romney’s must score a “There you go again” moment against Obama if he expects a shot at capturing this election. Don’t look for the president to expose himself to such a thing the way Jimmy Carter did against Ronald Reagan back in 1980.

If the president fends off Romney and scores some hits of his own – and he’ll have plenty of ammo to fire at the challenger – then we might see the beginning of the end of Romney’s White House quest.

Oh, and what about Ohio? Remember how the late Tim Russert declared “Florida, Florida, Florida” when handicapping how the 2000 race would go down? I think the Buckeye State is this election’s Florida, meaning that it all turns right there. Republicans need it to win; Democrats can win without it. Polls are showing Obama with a lead of as much as 10 points in the Buckeye State, give or take a point or two.

Here’s what I think might occur Election Night. If the TV networks call Ohio early for the president, we might be looking at a blowout. Ohio will be among the first states to close its polling places, giving the networks time to consider whether it’s too close to call or whether they can declare it for either candidate. If it’s a nail-biter, look for a long night of suspense.

But if it goes early for Obama – given his apparent lead in the polls and even more commanding lead in the Electoral College – then it’s lights out in a hurry.

But hey, it’s six weeks away. How many political lifetimes is that?

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