Raleigh, N.C. — With about 2 million votes reporting, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are neck and neck, within a percentage point.
But looking at the counties from where those counties are coming, the news is good for Romney and bad for the president -- at least as far as North Carolina goes.
Consider Wake County, which in 2008 Obama won 250,891 187,001. Not only did Wake give Obama a win, it gave him a cushion against other parts of the state where he was less popular.
And with 178 of 200 Wake County precincts reporting tonight, Romney is leading 101,352 to 94,555. Even if Obama closes that gap, it seems unlikely he'll be able to build the same kind of lead he had in 2008.
Update: Wake County's didn't get its early voting numbers into the Wake County totals until 10:14 p.m. With the early vote, Obama pulled ahead. 55.12% to 43.26% for Romney.
That is DECIDEDLY good news for Obama. However, while his margin in Wake isn't quite as big as it was in 2008 and he's encountering significant drag in other parts of the state.
Obama is leading in some other key counties early, such as Forsyth, are giving Obama and early lead.
But the smart money is now on a close, Romney win.
And in case this isn't blazingly obvious: This only speaks to the presidential race in North Carolina and says nothing about the national outcome.