Monday, September 10, 2012

Up In Ohio

Public Policy Polling has President Obama opening a lead in Ohio.

PPP’s first post-conventions poll in Ohio finds Barack Obama with a 5 point lead over Mitt Romney, 50-45. This is the largest lead PPP has found for Obama in an Ohio poll since early May. Last month Obama led 48-45.

Both candidates have seen their images improve with Ohio voters in the wake of the conventions. Obama now breaks even in his approval rating at 48%, after being under water with 46% of voters approving and 51% disapproving of him a month ago. Romney’s numbers are up from a 41/52 favorability rating a month ago as well, but he still remains unpopular. Only 44% see him favorably to 49% with a negative opinion.

Romney actually leads 46-44 with independents but Obama has the overall advantage thanks to a more unified party base. He leads 86/11 with Democrats, compared to Romney’s 83/13 advantage with Republicans. Obama’s 75 point lead within his own party is up from 70 points a month ago, suggesting that his party has coalesced around him a little bit more in the wake of a successful convention. By a 47/35 margin Ohio voters say they think the Democrats had a better convention than the Republicans.

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It’s hard to see a path to victory for Mitt Romney without Ohio, and Obama continues to be in a strong position there with eight weeks to go.

Of course, anything can happen in the last eight weeks; that’s a lifetime in campaigning. Just ask Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman. But according to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, the polls are starting to set the pattern for the rest of the campaign, and with a lot of people already having made up their minds, there’s not a lot of room for movement.

On Friday, we began to see reasonably clear signs that President Obama would receive some kind of bounce in the polls from the Democratic convention.

Mr. Obama had another strong day in the polls on Saturday, making further gains in each of four national tracking polls. The question now is not whether Mr. Obama will get a bounce in the polls, but how substantial it will be.

Some of the data, in fact, suggests that the conventions may have changed the composition of the race, making Mr. Obama a reasonably clear favorite as we enter the stretch run of the campaign.

Which means that it can only get louder, meaner, and stranger.