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Obama's Ohio win closer this time, but a win is a win

Four years ago, politicos on both sides were stunned when the formerly rock-solid Hamilton County was won by Barack Obama by a margin of 29,683 votes, taking 54 percent of the county to 46 percent for GOP nominee John McCain.

This year, the GOP and the Romney-Ryan campaign rolled the dice on winning back Hamilton County, one of the handful of linchpin counties that can make or break a presidential campaign in Ohio.

Again, though, they lost.

In the unofficial vote count from Tuesday night, Obama once again won Hamilton County - this time, by a considerably smaller amount. Obama had a 19,858 vote advantage over Mitt Romney, which worked out to 51.8 percent to Romney's 46 percent.

Statewide, Obama won Ohio's 18 electoral votes by 107,241 out of 5.36 million cast, according to the official vote count. That was down from the 262,224 vote margin held over McCain in Ohio four years ago. This year, in the unofficial vote county, Obama took Ohio's 18 electoral with 51.8 percent, compared 51.5 percent four years ago.

There were about 5.36 million votes cast in Tuesday's election in Ohio, according to the unofficial count. There were to 5.7 million Ohio voters four years ago.

Still, all it takes is 50 percent plus one vote win the state's electoral votes; and the fact that Obama won Ohio for a second time was a testament to what turned out to be a superior ground game and the fact that Ohio's economy is slighter better than that of the nation as a whole.

One oddity - in the presidential race in Hamilton County, there were 1,932 "under votes" - in other words, people who went to the polls on election day or voted early and didn't mark the box next to any presidential candidate's name. They made nearly 0.5 percent of the total county vote.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.