Suffolk U Poll: Obama and Romney tied in Ohio

Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are tied at 47 percent each in Ohio, according to a Suffolk University survey of likely voters in the Midwestern swing state. 

Romney led Obama 49 percent to 44 percent among those planning to vote on Election Day, while Obama led 48 percent to 44 percent among those planning to vote before Election Day and crushed Romney 54 percent to 41 percent among those who said they had voted already. 

“All roads to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue lead through Ohio,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Timing is everything. Barack Obama has banked an early lead, but Mitt Romney should even the score with his slight edge among likely voters who plan to cast ballots on Election Day. However, failure to turn out his voters on November sixth could be costly for Romney.” 

Gov. Chris Christie and his idol, New Jersey rock icon Bruce Springsteen, each campaigned in the Buckeye State last week, working opposing sides.

Christie backs Romney. Springsteen supports Obama. 

The Suffolk Poll found a fairly even gender gap, with Obama leading 53 percent to 41 percent among women but trailing Romney 52 percent to 40 percent among men. 

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, independent Richard Duncan, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein each received 1 percent; and 3 percent of voters were undecided.

The Suffolk University poll is the only survey taken this fall listing all seven candidates who qualified for the Ohio ballot. 

Obama & Romney even on favorability 

The favorability ratings for Romney (50 percent favorable-45 percent unfavorable) were almost identical to Obama’s 50 percent favorable-46 percent unfavorable rating. Forty-nine percent of voters said that they connected better with Obama, compared to 44 percent for Romney. The president was seen as better at handling foreign policy (49 percent) than Romney would be (42 percent). “These are high foreign policy expectations that the president must live up to in the final debate tonight,” said Paleologos. “If he lives up to his billing, he could close the deal.  However, failure to meet or exceed those expectations could open up the race for Romney.” Of the 80 percent who watched the second televised presidential debate last week, 54 percent said Obama won; 37 percent selected Romney; and 9 percent were undecided. 

U.S. Senate race 

In the Ohio race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown (46 percent) led Republican Josh Mandel (39 percent), while independent Scott Rupert received 6 percent, and 8 percent were undecided. 

Health care 

Likely voters said they had more trust in Democrats (49 percent) than Republicans (42 percent) when it comes to reforming Medicare and Social Security. However, 49 percent said that Obamacare is generally bad for Ohio, while 43 percent said it is generally good for their state. 

Ohio economy 

Eight percent of likely voters saw the Ohio economy as improving significantly over the last four years, while 49 percent said it has improved a little; 18 percent said it has declined a little; and 20 percent said it has declined a lot. On energy-related issues, 54 percent said it is important to protect coal energy jobs in Ohio, while 32 percent said the state should focus on creating renewable energy jobs.  Ohioans were optimistic about the nation’s future in the global environment. Three-quarters of respondents said that the United States will continue to be a world leader 10 years from now, and 74 percent expressed confidence that America can compete with China when it comes to manufacturing. In 2008, Suffolk University Political Research Center polling showed Obama with a 51 percent-42 percent lead over John McCain in Ohio. Obama won Ohio 51 percent-47 percent on Election Day. 

Methodology The statewide survey of 600 likely Ohio voters was conducted Oct. 18-21 using live telephone interviews of landline and cell phone users. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are available on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site.

"I am excited to announce I will actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."
—Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.