CNN Poll: Race tightening up in battleground Ohio
October 9th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Race tightening up in battleground Ohio

(CNN) - On the day that both presidential candidates are campaigning in Ohio, a new poll indicates a close contest in the race for the Buckeye State's 18 electoral votes.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll (PDF), 51% of likely voters in Ohio say they're backing President Barack Obama, with 47% supporting Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error.

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The survey, released Tuesday, was conducted October 5-8, entirely after last Wednesday's first presidential debate. Since non-partisan, live operator polls of likely voters in Ohio conducted prior to the debate indicated Obama with a 7-10 point advantage over the former Massachusetts governor, the new CNN survey suggests that Romney got a bounce following the debate.

The CNN poll indicates a wide gender gap, with Romney leading by 14 points among men and Obama ahead by 22 points among women voters.

"Independent voters, suburban voters, and older voters are all evenly divided, indicating a close race right now," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that's not a prediction of what will happen in November. With one in eight likely voters saying that they could change their minds between now and November, and several crucial debates still to come, there is every reason to expect the race to change in Ohio."

American Research Group is also out Tuesday with a poll in Ohio, with Romney at 48% and Obama at 47% among likely voters. ARG's previous Ohio survey, conducted in mid-September, had Obama at 48% and Romney at 47%.

"The new polls are a huge boost for Republicans, coming just a couple weeks after a string of polls made them wonder if there was any way to win without Ohio," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Three national polls released in the past 24 hours also indicate the race knotted up among likely voters. And two of the surveys, from ARG and Pew Research Center, also suggest a post debate bounce for Romney.

"There is clearly movement in Ohio similar to what we see nationally. You see it in our numbers. It's a very close race in Ohio and you feel it talking to people on the ground," adds King, who is reporting from the Buckeye State.

Ohio was the state that put President George W. Bush over the top in his 2004 re-election. Four years later Obama carried the state by five points over Sen. John McCain. But the Republicans performed well in the Buckeye state in the 2010 midterm elections, winning back the governor's office and five House seats from the Democrats.

This cycle Ohio is seeing an outsized amount of campaign traffic. Obama's Tuesday rally in Columbus is his 12th visit to the Buckeye state since the unofficial start of the general election campaign in early April. For Romney, his event Tuesday in Cuyahoga Falls is his 15th visit to Ohio in the same time period.

Overall, the campaigns, party committees, and super PACs and other independent groups have spent nearly $92 million to run ads on broadcast TV in Ohio since the start of the general election, with more than $20 million of that coming just in the last two weeks. Those figures come from Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising for its clients.

"The governor still has problems here, especially with working women in the critical suburban areas. And the president benefits from an improving Ohio economy," says King. "But our numbers reinforce why there has been $90 million spent on presidential campaign TV ads the past six months: This is the battleground of the battlegrounds."

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode are also on the presidential ballot in Ohio. When their names were added to the poll, Obama is at 48%, Romney 45%, with Johnson at 3%, Stein at 1% and Goode registering less than one-half of one percent.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 1,020 Ohio adults, including 888 registered voters and 722 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Mitt Romney • Ohio • President Obama
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Yeah!

    Romney getting a boune in the polls from his lie-fest at the first debate just indicates to me that at LEAST 40% of America is legally retardedd. As the years pass by, moving forward, the older generations of ignorant biggots will die off and the republican party will cease to exist.

    CANT WAIT!!!

    October 9, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Name ma snoke

    I'm a ohio voter and i can tell the word here is romney is viewed as a fast talking used car salesman who lies every time he speaks !!! Ohio will vote for obama in a landslide! Our unemployment is 7 and getting better!!

    October 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Mike

    Ironic that Romney has 47%, no?

    October 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Chipster

    Middle class workers need to seriously consider whether they are willing to vote against their own self-interest. The Republican Party plans to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. They are intent on busting unions because union wages tend to increase demand for higher wages and benefits for the entire middle class. They will gut environmental protections – didn't they apologize to BP when the President managed to secure a $20 billion commitment from BP despite Cheney's task force's policies that protect gas and oil companies from being held accountable? Think about what they really do – set aside the fact that they cloak their policies in the flag and the Bible. Democrats are patriotic and religious too; they just don't force it on anyone. Vote for your interests and the interests of the health of our nation.

    October 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. tee1227

    Here is something for CNN to think about, If the race is tightening up in OH why this. Jon Husted, Ohio GOP Secretary Of State, Appealing Early Voting Decision To Supreme Court, Please CNN tell the American people why is this guy .Appealing Early Voting Decision.

    October 9, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. kevin

    yonni, maybe I am wrong on this but if obama has a 4 point advantage and the sampling error is 3.5 percent, then that means that if you were to give 2.5 percent to romney (under the 3.5 sampling error) than romney would be ahead 49.5% to 49%... which is why both of those statements do not contradict each other

    October 9, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Name w.bullock

    I am belived that people are keep play game vote support for obama

    October 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. steven

    Yonni – this time cnn got it right. Plus or minus 3.5 percent means that one candidate can go up 3.5% and the other can go down 3.5% for a total change of 7%. So 4% is within the sampling error

    October 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Claude Croteau from Canada

    To all ofr your commentators, anchors and so called experts : AREN'T YOU TIRED OF BASHING ALL THAT IS CONSERVATIVE ? I try to look at CNN but everytime I switch to CNN I see a commercial ad or someone bashing conservaaives.
    VOUS ME FAITES CHIER AVEC VOS COMENTAIRES AUSSI MESQUINS !

    October 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. lnd72

    Many Americans don't pay much attention until the debates. After the first debate, I think many realized that Romney didn't seem to match the negative characterizations many have put out there about him.

    October 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. realtalker1

    He's slipping much worse in states like Michigan, Colorado and Florida. Ohio is a must win for Obama. He better keep his lead but he needs more swing states to be comfortable. Florida will almost surely go to Romney but Obama doesn't need Florida, if he can get it though, it's all over for Romney.

    October 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Brian

    If by tightening you mean varying within the statistical margins of error that were so important when it was a larger number?

    October 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Babyboomer

    Don't believe the hype.

    October 9, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. wafffles

    Why even bother with these polls? Everything has been a statistical tie for weeks and weeks. Obama's apparent lead in September was just as likely a result of sampling error as Romney's gains this week. Mathematically, the headlines "Romney Makes Significant Gains", "Obama Loses No Ground" and "Presidential Race Still Tied" are all equally justifiable, and only reflect the biased intent of the author one way or the other.

    October 9, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Charlie

    Couldn't throw Gary Johnson or the Pony Party up there for some variety?

    October 9, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Rob

    What has gone wrong with the American political system that the only state that matters in a presidential election is Ohio?!! Since when did anyone in this country care what Akron or Canton thinks about anything? Something is seriously wrong with this country.

    October 9, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Henry Hotlove

    I just did a poll in Ohio and Obama is winning by 16% with a +22 dem sample. Sad thing is my poll is just as credible as this CNN whopper.

    October 9, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. RS, CA

    Come on, Ohio - do the RIGHT thing. Elect a REAL person with leadership abilities, proven success, a deep, abiding love for America, a champion of the work ethic where everyone does his fair share and reaps commensurate rewards WITHOUT government stealing most of it. Enough of Hollywood la-la land type candidates. Enough of Obama!
    We've had our first black president - good. But now let's get back to electing someone based on leadership and experience, NOT color or teleprompter sound bites.

    October 9, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Anon 2012

    The usual CNN pro-Romney spin I see. The poll was conducted during the period that was Romney's high point immediately after the debate and he is still losing but somehow CNN spins it that this is great news for Romney. If Ohio distributed its votes proportionally, this would be great news but the electoral college is pretty much winner take all and no reputable polling organization has Romney leading anywhere in a toss up state (ARG is a joke).

    4 More Years–Obama/Biden 2012

    October 9, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. JDinHouston

    Seems that Romney is a 47 percenter. And, as Romney likes to point out, you just need 50.1% to win an election, and Obama still holds that number.

    October 9, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. rosco

    The only poll that counts is called ELECTION RESULTS

    October 9, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Byron

    Dang Obama better step up or he's gonna lose to a loser!

    October 9, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. jnpa

    I have been saying for weeks that these polls don't mean anything. The only numbers the really count are on election day!

    October 9, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Uh oh, here comes Mittens...

    October 9, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Alex

    Wow! Among Registered voters – its 10 points! A big difference. Do you really think Obama campaign's GOTV won't work overtime for that additional 6 points?!

    October 9, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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