Ohio, Nation Close: Poll-Watch

Photograph by John Moore/Getty Images

Rep. Tim Ryan speaks to Democratic party volunteers at the Obama campaign office on Oct. 28, 2012 in Youngstown, Ohio.

On the eve of the final week of the presidential election contest, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have held a virtual tie among likely voters surveyed nationally for three days in ABC News-Washington Post tracking surveys.

And the two are deadlocked in a new newspaper consortium poll in Ohio, traditionally a must-win state for any Republican claiming the White House and a state that has voted the way the nation has in 12 consecutive presidential elections.

For three days, it’s been Romney 49 percent, Obama 48 in the ABC-Post track, a statistical tie.

The Washington Post notes: “The parity in the contest shows up elsewhere as well: the two candidates are just two points apart when it comes to dealing with taxes, and they are three points apart on health care policy. ”

“Just outside the error margin – albeit barely – is Romney’s five-point edge on issue No. 1, solving the nation’s economic troubles. Romney’s advantage here peaked at nine points late last week (52 to 43 percent); now, the split is 50 for the former Massachusetts governor to 45 percent for the president.”

The polling institute at the University of Cincinnati, sponsors of The Ohio Poll, has one of the best track records around. In a survey for several Ohio newspapers released yesterday, the university found a dead-even tie between the president and his Republican rival in Ohio.

49-49.

That left one point each for “other” or “don’t know.

The poll straddled the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, conducted Oct. 18-23 among 1,015 likely voters, with a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.

A month ago, it was Obama 51 percent, Romney 46.

The reason, the Akron Beacon Journal reports, “may be shifts in key parts of the electorate.”

“Independents are now more evenly split between Obama and Romney than was the case in the first poll,” Eric Rademacher, co-director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, told the consortium of Ohio newspapers. They tilted slightly toward Obama, 46 to 44 percent, after leaning toward Romney 54-25 in the earlier poll. Independents, Rademacher added, “may hold the key to both Ohio and the presidency.”

Romney led among men by 12 percent in the latest Ohio survey, while Obama also had a double-digit lead among women.

The president, who has campaigned on college campuses in Ohio and elsewhere, has “increased his sizable edge among likely voters under 30 years old, his most successful age group,” the Beacon Journal reports. “But leads he had among adults 30 to 45 and 46 to 64 evaporated. Romney is now ahead with both groups while increasing his lead among voters more than 65 years old.”

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