It's still unclear what the long-term fallout from President Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance will be, but a poll released Thursday shows he continues to hold the upper-hand in the coveted bellwether of Ohio.
That's the upshot of the latest survey from NBC News, Marist College and the Wall Street Journal, which shows Obama leading Romney among likely Buckeye State voters, 51 percent to 45 percent. While that's a 2-point uptick for Romney since the previous NBC/Marist/WSJ poll Ohio released a week ago, which showed Obama up 51 percent to 43 percent, voters' impressions of the two candidates have remained largely the same.
Fifty-one percent of Ohio voters view Obama favorably, down only 1-point from the previous poll, which was conducted in late-September and early-October. The 44 percent of Ohio voters who view the president unfavorably is unchanged. Obama's job approval rating has inched up a point to 49 percent. Meanwhile, Romney's own favorability rating is up 2 points to 44 percent, although half of Ohio voters still have an unfavorable view of the Republican nominee — virtually the same as the last NBC/Marist/WSJ poll.
Ohio voters still prefer Obama over Romney when it comes to the economy and foreign policy; in fact, the president has slightly widened his lead in those areas over the last week. Obama tops Romney on the question of which candidate would do a better job on the economy, 49 percent to 45 percent, a 1-point improvement for the president since the previous NBC/Marist/WSJ poll. Additionally, Obama's 12-point edge over Romney on foreign policy amounts to a 1-point improvement since last week.
Thursday's poll indicates that 62 percent of Ohio's likely voters tuned in to the first presidential debate, while another 21 percent said they mostly watched news coverage. But 92 percent of the same likely voters said their minds were already made up prior to the debate, with only 7 percent suggesting they made a decision after its conclusion.
The NBC News, Marist College and Wall Street Journal poll was conducted Oct. 7-9 using live phone interviews with 994 likely Ohio voters. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.