President Obama still leads in Ohio, but his lead has narrowed to just three points. According to the last PPP poll, it is Obama 47 percent to Mitt Romney 44 percent. Obama’s small lead falls within the poll’s 3.8 percent margin of error. From PPP:
Barack Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney in Ohio, 47-44. But that’s Obama’s weakest showing in the state in PPP’s polling since last October. He had led by 50-43 and 49-42 spreads in our two previous 2012 polls.
The big decline for Obama over the last couple months has been with white voters. He and Romney were basically tied with them earlier this year, but now Romney has opened up a 49-42 advantage with them. It’s actually white Democrats with whom Obama’s seen the biggest decline recently. In early May he had an 89-6 lead with them, but that’s now declined to 78-16.
Obama’s approval rating in Ohio has dipped to 44/51, a net 7 point drop from the polls earlier this year when voters split evenly on him at 48/48. That Obama has a small advantage in the state anyway is a testament to Romney’s weakness as a candidate. Only 35% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% with a negative one. With Obama’s approval numbers where they are he would almost definitely be trailing if the GOP had a top notch candidate against him- but it really just doesn’t.
The basic dynamics of the race remain the same. Obama does well with minority groups and women, but he struggles with white male voters. Obama’s job approval rating is not good, primarily because of the economy, but Romney’s inherent weakness as a candidate makes it hard for him to capitalize.
Unlike some other states like Missouri, which seems to have moved towards one party or the other, it looks like Ohio could again play a decisive role in this election.