(CNN) – One day before Mitt Romney's campaign starts a three day bus tour in Ohio, a new poll indicates the Republican nominee is behind President Barack Obama by five percentage points in the Buckeye State.
Just over half - 51% - of likely voters back the president, while 46% support Romney, according to a new survey released Sunday and conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research.
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The survey was taken September 13-18, mostly before video emerged of controversial comments Romney made at a May fundraiser, in which he argued nearly half of Americans are "victims" who are "dependent" on the government because they don't pay federal income taxes.
While he has since said he could have stated his remarks "more clearly," Romney has largely stood by his message that Uncle Sam spends too much on entitlement programs.
The September 13-18 time window, however, included a separate round of criticism surrounding Romney's decision to blast the Obama administration's handling of the consulate attack in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The 5-point margin comes within the poll's sampling error and falls in line with CNN's Poll of Polls in the state. As of Sept. 20, Obama had 49% and Romney had 44% of support in Ohio, according to the CNN analysis.
It includes an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll and a Fox News survey, which each have the president holding a 7-point lead, as well as an American Research Group survey, which shows Obama with a 2-point edge, well within that poll's sampling error.
READ MORE: Battleground polls seem to give Obama upper hand over Romney
With the state's early voting start date just around the corner (October 2), Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will make an aggressive blitz across the state between Monday and Wednesday.
Obama, meanwhile, has made Ohio a frequent stop on his campaign itinerary, visiting the state 12 times this year alone and 29 times since becoming president. At an event Monday, he announced his administration had filed a recent a trade complaint against China's auto industry subsidies. Ohio is a major automotive industry state.
The new poll Sunday indicated more voters trusted Obama on improving the economy than Romney - a number that used to favor the Republican nominee. According to the poll, 49% believe the president is better able to improve economic conditions in Ohio, while 44% feel the same for Romney.
"Clearly, how Ohioans view the two candidates in terms of their ability to improve Ohio's economy over the next four years will go a long way in determining who wins Ohio's 18 electoral votes," Eric Rademacher, co-director of the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Interestingly, while nearly 60% of respondents have a positive opinion of the so-called auto bailout, more than half-54%–said the federal loan program would have "no influence" on their vote, according to the poll. The auto bailout is a big calling card on the campaign trail for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and was a central theme of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Biden especially likes to remind voters of one of the campaign's mottos: "Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive."
But Rademacher, the institute's co-director, cautioned anything could happen before November 6.
"This snapshot in time shows an early advantage for the president. However, any candidate would trade this advantage today for an advantage in momentum and energy on Election Day," he said.
The University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research surveyed 861 likely voters by telephone. The poll, commissioned by major Ohio newspapers, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 points. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they were Democrats, 42% identified themselves as Republicans and 10 percent said they were independents.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
48% of those questions are Dems and 42% for the GOP?! I have no doubt the President is in the lead in Ohio, but I doubt there is going to be a 6 point advantage for Dems vs. Republicans, and VERY highly doubt nearly half of the voters will be Democrats.
Only 10% of Americans feel Romney is for the middle-class & the state he ran as Governor, Mass he is down by approx. 20 points! These people know his governing first hand. If he can't run a state or political campaign, how do you think he'd do with the whole country, including 47% he writes off?
Ah, Chris, didn't do to well in school did ya? The reason there are more Dems in the poll is because Ohio HAS More Dems as a percentage of the population...the pool was random, and as you would expect, in a random poll amounts a disproportional group, the disproportional part would still be represented. Remember, this wasn't a "Fox" or "Rasmussin" poll.
Mitt Romney probably lives in a world that I don't live in. You know? He lives in a world - I hear he's worth, what, $250 million? And he comes from wealth. And most people I find that are born with that kind of money truly don't know what it's like to be out there
MITT Romney Will Boost Economy 'Without Actually Doing Anything,
Romney says he's going to create, well how many million jobs? that's total hogwash, and I'll tell you why. The only thing a government official can - can create is a government job. So if he's going to create 12 million new jobs, they're going to be paid for by taxes. Because jobs are created.Jobs are created in the private sector. Not by the president or the government unless they're government jobs
Thank you Ohio!
Watch Rove's big buckets of cash shift from Romney to congressional candidates. Mitt and Paul are toast.
I am astounded so many Americans still vote GOP now that the disastrous effects of 30 years of GOP supply side economics is so painfully evident. I'm not the smartest guy, but its downright depressing that 40 % of the country is so dumb.
Chris, in order for a poll to be objective and scientific, the pollsters cannot poll an even number of Democrats and Republicans.
tWe are bombarded by polling data, outrageous political ads, interference in state elections by outside sources, millions of dollars in advertising which is short on truth and long on sarcasm and made-up facts and accusations and character assassinations. Each year it gets worse and our leaders seem to be unwilling to take a stand against the perpetrators of any of this madness. Our children see this every day and then we wonder why our young people may not want to vote.
Every day we are given the results of another poll. Yet the only poll that matters will be election day. Candidates are routinely vilified, described as unpatriotic, out-of-touch, uncaring, dangerous, evil, dishonest, war-mongering, a socialist to right wing. too left wing, not caring enough, a bleeding heart liberal, etc. Television stations play every ad sent tot hem no mater if they are true or not. The large sums of money charged for ads are put in the station's coffers. There is no incentive for them to keep the campaigns honest and forthright. Nothing will change unless we, the American people, decide we have had enough. Is there a leader out there who can begin this process of putting honesty into election politics?I am prepared to join in and help. Are you?
Mitt the twit and lyin Ryan are done.
I voted for Obama and I paid my taxes unlike Mitt's accusation that I depend on govt. I don't depend on govt, although my life depends on the outcome of American Idol and how many McDonnalds double burgers I can shove in my mouth during that show! I don't care about the world, I am American!
Realizing that Romney's right about them being moochers, thousands of senior citizens and military vets in Florida and other states apologize for being government dependent victims, refuse Medicaid and die. Then Romney wins.
With all of this polling data it would be great to see the R Squared associated with the margin of error. This can bring additional credibility to your presentation and reporting.
The Republicans and Democrats don't win a candidate an election, only independent voters do. After Romney dissed so many of them, I doubt they will be voting for Romney.
If Democrats don't make up nearly half of the total number of voters, then doesn't that mean that some of the Republican voters would have to vote for Obama in order for him to have any majority at all?
Again CNN keeps trying to perpetuate the flat-out lie that Romney said nearly half of Obama supporters don't pay taxes. What he SAID was that 47% of THOSE WHO VOTED FOR the big O don't pay...that's less than half of the half who voted for Barry...which is therefore less than 25%. Real simple math, yet CNN and every other major network who is working their tails off to keep Obama as their King/Savior insists on pumping out that lie. That's why CNN viewership keeps dropping and Fox News keeps beating them all. Flat out blatant liars...just like the rest of the libs
The problem is Romney has no interest in improving the economy for anybody except the 5% he actually represents.
I think the situation will change dramatically after the debates. That will be the first opportunity for Obama to be held accountable for his performance in office before a national audience without the polishing and spinning of news networks like CNN. By the way, funny how they are still injecting Romney's 47% comment every chance they get. Can we get the same treatment for Obama's "I'll have more flexibility after this election…" comment or his "I can't change Washington form the inside…" comment? Didn't think so.
Ohio is getting it right and the rest of the Nation will follow. GWB didn't win Ohio or anything State because of his economic policy because he had none, he put Ohioians in the soup line, he won Ohio due to 9-11. Ohioians were insulted by Romney's 47% characterization of them because they are honest hard working people. I know because I am a native of Ohio and proud of it, we work and we don't consider ourselves "victims".
The polls will be adjusted or explained away after the
blackbox central tabulators determine the outcome.
Good to see the Unions still control Ohio that's the only reason Obama is up.
Wake up people before you find out that we are the largest third world country out there because that's where we are headed if Obama wins in 2012.
The polls show exactly what the pollsters want them to show. Just call 6-8% more Dems than GOP...simple.
The bad thing about polls is they call during the day while people are working so they dont really represent the total
voting populatopn. The people they talk to dont have jobs or responsibilities and there fore think that it is okay for the government to take care of you and taxing the rich is the answer to all our problems. Good luck with that hope and change crap!
ohio you are awesome you are a great state keep exposeing mitt romney ohio as a greedy old man
The polls in the swing states are the ones that matter, and Romney is paying attention to this one. Obama has an estimated 40-vote lead in the electoral college and there's only about 110 votes up for grabs.