Obama Still Holding On In Ohio
Mitt Romney has managed to cut significantly into the President’s lead in the polls in several important swing states, including most significantly Florida and Virginia, but the President seems to be managing to maintain his lead in the Buckeye State:
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.’
The early voting number mirrors what was reported by last week’s NBC News/Marist poll and, if it’s even close to accurate, it may be the thing that makes winning Ohio an impossible goal for Romney this year. Four years ago, the Obama campaign’s ground operation won the early voting phase in several states, including Ohio, and they appear to be doing it yet again.
As for Ohio itself, the RCP average shows Obama with a 1.7 point lead. That’s below where it was before the October 3rd debate, but it seems to indicate that there’s a level of support for the President here that makes it difficult for Mitt Romney to break through.If that continues, then that’s 18 Electoral Votes that the Republicans will have to try to find elsewhere.