Ohio: One in 10 Open to Persuasion

Photograph by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

President Barack Obama prepares to board Air Force One to Ohio for campaign stops in Mansfield and Akron.

In Ohio, where President Barack Obama is campaigning for reelection today and where a new poll shows him holding an advantage over Republican Mitt Romney, there is room to move between now and November.

While 87 percent of the likely voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University, CBS and the New York Times said their minds are made up, 12 percent said they might change before the Nov. 6 election. Similar room for movement was registered in the group’s polling of likely voters in Florida and Pennsylvania, also leaning toward Obama over Romney — with 10-12 percent saying they might change their minds.

With the economy ranked a runaway No. 1 in issues that matter to voters, the economy has improved in Ohio since Obama’s inauguration — the state ranked sixth in overall economic health in the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States.

There’s no statistical difference between the percentages of Obama and Romney supporters who say they might still be convinced to switch, suggesting that both the president and his challenger have some work to do in Ohio.

Obama is more favorably viewed than Romney is in Ohio, the survey finds, with 51 percent holding a favorable view of the president, 45 percent unfavorable. The presumptive Republican nominee’s ratings are upside down: 43 percent holding an unfavorable view, 40 percent favorable. (Though the margin of error in this poll, 2.8 percent in Ohio, makes these questions somewhat of a draw.)

Asked if Obama cares about the needs and problems of people like them, 55 percent of Ohio’s likely voters say yes, 43 percent no. Asked the same question about Romney, 55 percent say no, 38 percent yes.

However, opinion is divided over the job that Obama is doing as president: 48 percent of all likely voters voicing approval, 48 percent disapproval.

Enthusiasm for the president among his supporters is running higher in Ohio, the survey shows: 60 percent of Obama’s supporters strongly favoring him and 42 percent of Romney’s supporters strongly favoring him.

The economy stands out as the issue of most importance to voters there: 48 percent say so. Twenty percent identify health care, 12 percent the federal budget deficit.

And opinion is divided over whether the economy is improving in Ohio — 33 percent say it’s getting better, 26 percent worse, and 40 percent say it’s staying about the same.

Ohio’s overall economic health has improved since the first quarter of 2009, when Obama was inaugurated — the state ranking sixth in overall economic health — the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States shows.

Personal income has grown by 3.7 from the first quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of this year, employment has improved and the equity index of companies based in Ohio or with major operations there has grown by 10 percent, BEES shows.

Obama is making a case that, however slowly the economy is improving, 40-plus months of job growth is a trend moving in the right direction. Romney is making the case that the president’s policies aren’t working.

The numbers in Ohio would suggest that Obama has a more receptive audience for his argument in a state that has voted the way the nation has since the 1960s, but one in 10 voters are willing to listen to both candidates.

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