Projections: Barack Obama Wins Critical Ohio

No Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

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Projections show Barack Obama has won Ohio, a key swing state with 20 electoral votes that gives the Democratic nominee a clear path to the presidency.

John McCain had high hopes for the Buckeye State, even though Ohio's economy has sunk into deep trouble—with the loss of a quarter of manufacturing jobs since 2000. But in the end, many voters said they were ready for a big change from the policies of President George Bush. Many rural voters and conservative Democrats, especially in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the state, were doubtful about whether Obama represented their values and wondered if he was too risky a choice on national security. But the economic woes made the difference and gave Obama a tremendous lift.

One new element in the Buckeye State this time around was the debut of "Joe the Plumber," a worker from the Toledo area who quizzed Obama during a routine campaign stop about his tax policies, which Joe said would hurt him, as a would-be small-business man, especially hard. McCain and his campaign latched onto Joe as the embodiment of small-business men who could be hurt by Obama's tax policies.

But Obama got huge turnouts in large Democratic-oriented cities and also did somewhat better than John Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, in small towns and rural areas. Kerry lost Ohio by 118,000 votes.

No Republican has won the presidency without Ohio.

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