PPP: Obama's Lead In Ohio Dwindles To 1

Tom Kludt

President Barack Obama's lead in Ohio is down to a point, a survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling on Saturday showed.

According to the poll, Obama leads Romney among likely Buckeye State voters 49 percent to 48 percent. That's within the poll's margin of error and a dip from PPP's survey of Ohio last week, which showed the president with a 5-point edge.

The poll was conducted after Tuesday's debate, and the results suggest the town hall in Hempstead, N.Y. was not a game changer for the president, whose overall lead dropped despite a plurality of Ohio voters declaring him the winner of the debate.

"Our Ohio poll reflects the new reality of this election — every battleground state is looking like a toss up," said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in the poll's corresponding press release. "Our most recent polls in Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin have all found the candidates within 2 points of each other."

The PollTracker Average reflects the assessment, with the roughly 1-point margin separating the candidates enough to place the state in the toss-up column on the TPM Electoral Scoreboard.

Romney's gains in the state seem to be driven by a rehabilitated personal image. For much of the campaign, the Republican nominee's personal popularity among Ohioans was low, which was attributed to the relentless scrutiny of his professional biography and Romney's opposition to the federal government's rescue of the U.S. automotive companies. But PPP's latest survey shows 49 percent of Ohio voters holding a favorable view of Romney, while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

That's an improvement since last week, when his favorability rating was still under water, and a far cry from PPP's February survey, which showed a mere 28 percent of Ohio voters with a favorable view of Romney.

The PollTracker Average illustrates Romney's recent image turnaround in Ohio.

As has been indicated in other battleground states, Saturday's poll shows Obama winning handily among early voters in Ohio 66 percent to 34 percent. Romney leads among those who have not cast a ballot yet 52 percent to 44 percent. Obama's 14-point lead among Ohio women is slightly outpaced by Romney's 16-point advantage among male voters in the state.

PPP conducted its survey Oct. 18-20 using automated interviews with 532 likely Ohio voters. The poll has a margin of error +/-4.3 percentage points.