CANTON, Ohio -- Of the 10 states holding primary contests on Tuesday, only Ohio has the power to make or break Mitt Romney's bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
A clear victory in the swing state would give Romney the breakaway he's been yearning for, promising an end to the long primary slog that has bloodied several candidates, analysts say.
A loss in the Buckeye state, on the other hand, would punch a hole in Romney's aura of inevitability and leave him treading water with his rivals for weeks to come.
"If Romney wins Ohio, he turns the corner and inevitably, the party will increasingly unite around him," said Leonard Steinhorn, a political communications professor at American University and a former political consultant.
Some prominent conservatives, eager to end party infighting, began lining up behind Romney over the weekend in hopes of bolstering his Super Tuesday chances.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn were among those giving Romney 11th-hour endorsements.
Party leaders aren't alone in their primary fatigue. Voters also say they're ready to coalesce behind a single candidate.
"Let's stop this foolishness," said Debbie Clair, a retired police officer from Youngstown, Ohio, who called herself a "very conservative" Republican. "Let's move on, let's get Romney as the nominee."
Romney has been creeping up in the polls in Ohio, but by late Monday he was still running neck-and-neck with rival Rick Santorum, whose blue-collar roots have helped him connect with the very same voting bloc that Romney is struggling to persuade.
"If Romney can't win Ohio, it is going to continue to cast doubt on the enthusiasm that Republicans have for his candidacy," Steinhorn said. "He can get all of the endorsements in the world but if the voters can't get excited about him, that creates some nervousness in the Republican Party."
Michael Tonges of Canton, Ohio, said it's a myth that Romney's supporters lack excitement.
"I'm excited about [Tuesday]," said Tonges, who owns a local television station. "I'll be staying up all night watching the results, and I really pray that he does well."
Tonges worried, however, that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire business executive, has a problem connecting with Ohio's working class.
"You know he's at a higher level than a lot of other people," said Tonges. "He needs to be a little bit more down-to-earth, down to the middle class, like a lot of these people here in Stark County."
Romney traveled to three small factory towns in Ohio Monday in hopes of erasing the lingering impression that he is out of touch with working-class Americans.
"I want to bring good jobs back here," Romney said at a rally inside a Youngstown factory. "I look at this campaign right now and I see a lot of folks all talking about lots of things. But what we need to talk about to defeat Barack Obama, is getting good jobs and scaling back the size of government and that's what I do."