By now, we are all amateur experts in what it takes to win Ohio.

And the first thing that John King, George Stephanopolous, David Gregory, et. al. have taught us is that the key to victory for President Obama in Ohio is that he wins a massive margin in Cuyahoga County in order to cushion Republican-inclined voters throughout the rest of the non-urban population centers around the state.

Said simply, Obama must win Cuyahoga big, or he will not win Ohio. In Colorado terms, it is the equivalent of running it up in Denver and Boulder to compensate for lost ground in places like Colorado Springs, Douglas County and Greeley.

So what is happening in Cuyahoga? Obama is falling short of the huge surge he needs.

From a local TV affiliate:

CLEVELAND – The door has officially shut on early voting in Ohio, while we won’t know the results of those early ballots until shortly after the polls close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, we can look at the numbers to see who voted and who hasn’t.

First off, fewer people voted early in-person in Cuyahoga County this year compared to four years ago, off about 9,000 votes or 16.6 percent.

While much has been made about the reduced hours and lost weekend voting this year, the numbers remained on a pace ahead of 2008 heading into the final week, but trailed off dramatically over the last seven days.

And it isn’t just the local yokels suggesting that Obama isn’t doing what he needs in Cleveland-dominated Cuyahoga.

From today’s Washington Times:

Early voting in Cuyahoga County ended as of 2pm on Monday and turnout numbers have already been sent to county parties throughout the state. Although Cuyahoga County will go the president’s way, just by pure party registrations, early and absentee voting numbers coming from the Cuyahoga County Republican Party should cause Democrats state wide and nationally to be concerned in terms of GOP enthusiasm in Democratic strongholds.

“What we have seen, as of this morning, early voting [in Cuyahoga County] shows an additional 17,000 Republicans over what we saw in 2008 and the number of Democrats voting provisionally is less than what it was in 2008, so the net is about a 30,000 vote swing,” said Doug Magill, Cuyahoga County Republican Party spokesman, on Monday evening.

Essentially, according to Mr. Magill, Republicans were outnumbered in Cuyahoga in early voting in 2008 4.1 to 1. In 2012 Republicans are only outnumbered 2.7 to 1 in early and absentee voting in the heavy Democratic County. “In Cuyahoga County that’s significant,” he said.

Here are some numbers Mr. Magill cited to think about:

In 2008 Obama received 72 percent of the absentee and early voting in Cuyahga County for a total of 187,000 votes. McCain received 28 percent of the 2008 Cuyahoga County absentee and early voting. In 2012, absentee and early voting now is 128,000 Democrats versus 145,000 from 2008.

However, 47,000 Republicans turned out to vote early or absentee this year in Cuyahoga as opposed to the 2008 GOP turnout in the county, which was 34,000. “So that’s the swing–17,00 plus about 13,00. Actually, it’s about 30,000 and independents are down from 2008,” Magill said.

And what about election day? A report fresh off the wires via The Washington Post suggests that Cuyahoga will fall well short of 2008 voting levels.

From the WaPo:

More than half of the registered voters in crucial Cuyahoga County had cast ballots by 2:30 p.m., and Democratic Party officials were hoping to push that number significantly higher to get President Obama the edge he needs in Ohio.

Despite widespread fears of polling problems in one of Obama’s key strongholds, voting has gone on without snags throughout the day, according to elections officials. There were a handful of problems with paper ballots not entering electronic voting machines correctly, but those have been corrected without any lost votes.

“ We’ve continued to have a smooth election day,” said Jane M. Platten, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

No glitches at the polls and still no turnout?

Could it be that Obama has an intensity problem? In an hour or two, we will know for sure. If he loses Ohio and the election, the culprit will likely be an unspired base in the now famous place called Cuyahoga County.