President Barack Obama is holding onto his lead over Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Ohio — and the Romney camp is now talking about how Romney (unlike any other Republican candidate) can win without Ohio:
PPP’s newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading 51-46, a 5 point lead not too different from our last poll two weeks ago when he led 49-45.
The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they’ve already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven’t voted yet, but the numbers make it clear that he already has a lot of ground to make up in the final three weeks before the election.
We’ve found a major improvement in Mitt Romney’s image in most of the states that we’ve polled since the Presidential debate, but Ohio is an exception. His favorability now is a 45/51 spread, showing no improvement from his 45/49 breakdown two weeks ago. Obama meanwhile has seen a small spike in his approval rating, from 48/49 to 50/48.
The Vice Presidential debate may have given Obama at least a small boost as well. 46% of Ohio voters think Joe Biden won it to 37% who believe Paul Ryan was the victor. Biden’s advantage is 44/32 with independents. 62% of both Democrats and Republicans say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote this fall, reversing a trend we saw in some post-Presidential debate polling of GOP voters expressing more enthusiasm about the election this year.
One thing clear from our poll: Republican efforts to make a big deal out of Libya aren’t succeeding. By a 51/43 margin, voters trust Obama more than Romney on dealing with that issue. Obama also has a 51/46 advantage on dealing with the economy that mirrors his overall lead.
One reason Romney might be struggling to get traction in Ohio even as he surges elsewhere is his record on the auto bailout. Voters in the state support it by a 54/37 margin, including 58/35 with independents. They think Obama would be better than Romney for the auto industry 50/43, and 79% of voters consider it to be an important issue including 42% who say it’s ‘very important.’
In the US Senate race Sherrod Brown leads Republican challenger Josh Mandel 49-42, little change from a 49-41 advantage two weeks ago….
And now we see the seeds of (perhaps) a new Romney talking point: Ohio isn’t that critical, after all.. Jake Trapper:
Speaking to me this morning on “This Week,” Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney could “probably” win the White House without a victory in the Buckeye State, a feat that no other Republican has accomplished.
“Look, you can probably win the presidency without Ohio, but I wouldn’t want to take the risk. No Republican has. And we’re doing great in Ohio,” Portman said. “If you look at the average of all the polls, it’s about dead-even in Ohio right now. And importantly, the momentum’s on our side. It’s been terrific.”
Portman was responding to a recent poll I asked him about that showed Romney trailing the president by six points in Ohio.
I also asked Portman – who is helping prep Romney by playing Obama in mock debates – what we should expect on Tuesday, during the second presidential debate. He predicted that Obama would come out “swinging.”
Meanwhile, in what is likely to be a razor-blade-close election, a poll by Reuters finds Obama way ahead in early voting samples:
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are neck and neck in opinion polls, but there is one area in which the incumbent appears to have a big advantage: those who have already cast their ballots.
Obama leads Romney by 59 percent to 31 percent among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks.
The sample size of early voters is relatively small, but the Democrat’s margin is still well above the poll’s credibility interval – a measurement of polls’ accuracy – of 10 percentage points.
With the November 6 election just more than three weeks away, 7 percent of those surveyed said they had already voted either in person or by mail (full graphic: bit.ly/SWm5YR).
The online poll is another sign that early voting is likely to play a bigger role this year than in 2008, when roughly one in three voters cast a ballot before Election Day. Voting is already under way in some form in at least 40 states.
However, in polling it’s the average of polls that matters.
Here’s Pollster — which shows a dead heat:
Here’s Real Clear Politics’, which puts Romney ahead:
However, polls can reflect the popular vote but not tell the story with the electoral vote.Bottom line: it’s still very much a toss up.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.