Of course, many polls have shown Obama with a slight lead in Ohio, but the newer surveys suggesting a tightening race have Romney forces confident that something is going on in the state. On Monday morning, the campaign sent out a new strategy memo from Scott Jennings, the Ohio campaign director, that used the word “momentum” six times. Team Romney sees it everywhere in Ohio: polls, endorsements, early voting. …

The problem is, it’s not clear who’s winning independents. In the two polls that have energized Romney forces, Rasmussen and the Ohio newspaper poll, Obama actually had a slight lead among independents, but one that fell well within the margin of error. Team Romney argues that independents favor Romney on the most important issue in the race, the economy. That’s true but doesn’t prove much, at least at the moment.

Still, there just seems to be more enthusiasm on the Republican side in Ohio. “I’ve seen a lot more energy since that debate,” said Rick Baumbach, of Lewis Center, Ohio, as he waited for Romney. “The people who knocked on my door, they said, ‘I went and signed up to volunteer after the debate.’ “