LEBANON, Ohio — Just two weeks ago, Republicans here in Ohio, even in GOP stronghold Warren County, were filled with anxiety and doubt. Poll after poll showed President Obama widening his lead over Mitt Romney in this crucial battleground state. Republicans didn’t know whether to believe the polls — many didn’t — or admit their man was faltering in a nearly must-win state. Either way, it was a frustrating situation.
No longer. In the wake of Romney’s decisive victory over Obama in the first presidential debate October 3, the campaign’s trajectory here in Ohio is up, up, up. Not just in the polls, where Romney has cut a five-and-a-half point Obama lead in the RealClearPolitics average of polls to 1.7 points, but also in Republicans’ everyday lives as they talk to friends and, in some cases, volunteer for the campaign. And on Saturday evening in Lebanon, population 20,242, county seat of Warren County, where John McCain beat Barack Obama 67 percent to 31 percent in 2008, optimism had returned.
“There is hope, we have hope now,” said Tracey Perry of Loveland as she waited for Romney to speak to a crowd of nearly 10,000. “We were afraid the message was never going to get out.”