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Breaking: Obama Wins Ohio, Third Party Candidates get 1.5% of the Vote

Ohio is one of the key swing-states needed for one of the candidates to clinch the presidency, and recent polls show the race neck-and-neck. The two candidates have been consistently polling within 2 percentage points of each other in the state since May.

Ohio is still one of eight states up for grabs, along with Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Ohio has always been an important state to me — I was born and raised in the Cleveland area, and graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus this year. As a native Ohioan, Election Day has symbolizes the exciting ‘once-every-four-years’ opportunity to shed light on the state’s diverse population and political importance, and I always look forward to the attention Ohio receives from presidential hopefuls (although not so much when it comes to television ads). Ohio is a historically significant state when it comes to the presidential election; no Republican candidate has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and no candidate has ever won without the state since John F. Kennedy won in 1960. However, whoever wins Ohio this year may be up to third-party voters to decide.

The tight race in Ohio means third-party candidates have the opportunity to make a difference in the outcome of the election. If Obama and Romney are tied, even 1% of votes cast in Ohio for a third candidate could mean the difference in winning the state. This is a likely outcome, for an Ohio News Organization poll by Ohio's eight largest newspapers found Obama and Romney tied at 49% last week, and 1% of likely voters who responded said they planned to vote for another candidate.

Five third-party candidates will appear on Ohio’s presidential ballot.

Stay tuned to this blog for the latest up-to-date coverage on Election Day results in Ohio, where I’ll be paying special attention to the impact of third-party candidates in the state.

Live Updates:

8:40: Exit polls show electorate friendly toward Obama. 

9:46: Still waiting on results from Ohio. Update: little to no attention has been paid to third parties throughout the election coverage thus far. Not surprising.

9:54: With 9.2% of precints reporting, Obama has 54.8% of the vote, and Romney has 43.9%. My prediction: Obama will win Ohio. 

9:57: As the count continues in Ohio, all eyes are on the three Cs: Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Obama hopes for a strong performance in Cleveland, while Romney is looking for a strong showing in Hamilton County around Cincinnati - Obama was the first Democrat to win there in a generation in 2008. Bush won there in 2004. Romney is hoping for a win in the county in hopes of swinging the state his way. 

10:10: Hearing the crowd at Lakewood, Ohio's Melt restaurant yell, "Go Browns" has made my night. 

10:30:  53.3% precincts reporting: Obama 50.3% (1,727,751), Romney 48.1% (1,651,129)

10:42: 61.4% precincts reporting: Obama 50.4% (1,875,792), Romney 48.0% (1,786,909), Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 0.9% (32,599), Jill Stein (Green) 0.3% (12,806)

-Independents have broken 1% of the vote in Ohio. Definitely have the potential to swing the vote to Obama, considering earlier polls. 

11:04: 66.8% precincts reporting: Obama 50.2% (1,966,717), Romney 48.1% (1,887,017), Gary Johnson 0.9% (34,594), Jill Stein 0.3% (13,446). --Votes for Third Party Candidates continue to pour in; still above 1% of the Ohio vote.

11:18: Fox News is calling Ohio for Obama. With 73.7% of precincts reporting: Obama 49.8% (2,098,272), Romney 48.6% (2,048,667), Gary Johnson 0.9% (37,523), Jill Stein (14,320) 

-Fox News is calling Ohio for Obama. Should be official soon, but I'm guessing that's about as official as it's going to get. Gary Johnson polled extremely well in the state--will be interesting to see if political pundits attribute the Ohio-Obama victory to Johnson. 

Thanks for reading!

PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of Ohio live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.

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