Byron York

"We have the math, and they have the myth," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said on the same call. "At this time next week, President Obama will have been re-elected for a second term, and we can all get some sleep."

That's a lot of confidence, and bravado, in such a close race. After all, even if all the public polls showing Obama ahead in Ohio are correct, they average out to a lead of only 2.3 points. That's a tossup by almost anyone's measure.

Whatever the numbers, Ohio is in for a blowout of campaigning in the next few days. In the Cincinnati suburbs, Romney aides are planning for the kickoff Friday night of Romney's final cross-country tour, dubbed the "Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally." The show will be packed with governors like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Sam Brownback; senators like John McCain, Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, John Thune and Lindsey Graham; freelance Republican stars like Condoleezza Rice and Rudy Giuliani; plus the occasional sports legend like Jack Nicklaus.

Obama will answer with a rally Monday in Columbus with Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z.

The polls are a constant backdrop to the race in Ohio. And Republicans are acutely aware of what they say. But in the wave of enthusiasm that still exists after the presidential debates, Republicans are measuring the polls against what they see with their own eyes.

"I helped with the John McCain race four years ago," said Lee Czerwonka, vice mayor of suburban Blue Ash, Ohio, who came to see Portman and Wenstrup. "That one just never caught fire. There wasn't enough energy. This is night and day. I have volunteers coming from Tennessee, Texas and Kentucky. We've got a great base for poll workers, phones, door knocking. We've never seen anything like it."


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner