(CNN) - With four days to go until the presidential election, a new poll indicates the race for arguably the most important battleground state remains very close.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday, President Barack Obama holds a three point advantage over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the contest for Ohio's much fought over 18 electoral votes.
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Fifty-percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they are backing the president, with 47% supporting the former Massachusetts governor. Obama's three-point edge is within the survey's sampling error. The survey was conducted Tuesday through Thursday. The poll's release comes on the same day that the president holds three campaign events and Romney holds two events in Ohio.
"The race in the Buckeye State has remained essentially the same throughout October, with all three CNN/ORC polls taken in October showing President Obama at 50%-51% and all three showing Governor Romney at 46%-47%," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The CNN poll is in the range of the three other non-partisan, live operator surveys of Ohio likely voters also conducted entirely after last week's final presidential debate. The University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll and an American Research Group survey both indicated Obama with two-point edges and a CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll indicated Obama with a five-point advantage. All of those margins were within the sampling errors of those polls.
The gender, generation and income gaps that CNN polls have indicated in other states are readily apparent in Ohio as well, with Obama winning women by 16 points, lower-income voters by 30 points and those under age 50 by 15 points, while Romney leads among men by 13 points, and holds the advantage with older voters by 6 points and those making more than $50,000 per year.
"The president's prospects are boosted by a strong showing among white women, support in the northern parts of the state as well as the Columbus area, and a big margin among early voters," added Holland. "Romney's chances in the state rest on white men and a good showing in the central part of the state as well as the southwest corner, home to Cincinnati and Dayton."
"It's so close the president will need to run up the margins in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland and its suburbs) and in Columbus, and Governor Romney needs to win Hamilton County (Cincinnati and its suburbs) and elsewhere in southwestern Ohio. It's not an accident he is in that part of the state tonight," said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
"Base versus base, in a fairly even divided state," added King, who is reporting Friday from Ohio.
According to the poll, 63% of those who say they have already voted early or who plan to cast a ballot before next Tuesday say they support the president, with 35% backing Romney. But Romney has the 55%-42% advantage among those who plan to vote on Election Day.
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 from the presidential candidates and ad spending that has flooded the airwaves. The two presidential campaigns, the party committees, and the super PACs and other independent groups backing the two candidates combined have spent over $134 million to run ads on broadcast TV in Ohio since the start of the general election in early April, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), which tracks ad spending for its clients. Just in the past week, nearly $14 million has been shelled out to run spots.
"Ohio is a very different place than four years ago. Our numbers show that and you feel it and see it when you visit here," adds King. "The GOP offices have much more energy than late 2008."
The question is, is it enough?
"There is no question the auto bailout helps the president here, but also no question Governor Romney has a more motivated base than John McCain did," says King.
For months the Obama campaign has touted the bailouts and they were giving prominent prime time placement during the Democratic National Convention in early September. It's a strategy that the Obama campaign thinks could be the difference in Ohio, a major base for the auto industry.
"The American auto industry is back on top," said Obama early Friday at a rally in Hilliard, Ohio.
The bailouts were started under President George W. Bush in 2008, but the next year Obama grabbed the keys to the program, managing and funding the bailouts.
Romney opposed the government bailout and pushed for a privately financed, managed bankruptcy of the two automakers. The Obama campaign and other Democrats have attacked Romney over his opposition to the federal assistance.
And they've highlighted pushback by General Motors and Chrysler to a Romney TV ad and a radio spot this past week that claimed that both domestic auto makers were sending U.S. jobs to China.
With four days until the election, the poll indicates that more than nine in ten have made up their minds, with 7% saying they could still change their mind on their choice for president.
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 47%, Romney 44%, with Johnson at 5%, Stein at 1% and Goode registering less than one-half of one percent.
"As always, keep in mind that the poll does not, and cannot, predict the outcome of the election," cautions Holland. "Close elections are inherently unpredictable."
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Oct. 30-Nov. 1, with 1,000 adults, including 919 registered voters and 796 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
As a proud American, I am ashamed to say that their are soooooooooo many polluted idiots out there who actually believe in LITTLE BARRY HUSSEIN. A traitor worshiped by idiots, the media, the takers, and morons on the left.
The crying shame of the whole thing is that if you don't vote with the majority of the herd in your state, then your vote didn't count. Nasty little left-over from the 1%ers of the 18th century...the Electoral College. Under this manipulative system a candidate could get a clear majority of the vote and still lose.
Obama's got it. It's set in stone. The following have been for a while, and are still leaning Obama with 4 days to go:
The following had started to trend to Romney through October, but are now considered a dead heat:
The following had leaned Obama, then leaned Romney throughout October, and is now back to leaning Obama:
Obama will take the popular vote by about 2 points in my opinion, while taking the electoral by somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 electoral votes imo. I could see Romney taking NC, Florida, and maybe Colorado. He MIGHT take Virginia, but that's where it ends. In all reality, Romney will likely get 3 out of those 4 states at best, with an outside shot that Obama could take 2, 3, or even 4 of them.
Where can I find the relative weightings of the political parties for your poll? How many/what percent Democrats, Republicans and Independents? I would like to know that. Where can I find it?
Look at those signs... both candidates use .com. Yep... that right there is a smoking gun of what is wrong with this political system. They are in business to line their pockets at the taxpayer's expense.
How can polls tell you so much when only 796 people were polled. Numbers need to be made clear when you use them for headlines.,,,,,,,
It amazes (maybe it shouldn't) how people who contribute to these sites deny facts. Polls are objective numbers and history shows that if one candidate consistently trails the odds are high that that candidate will not win. Obama has been consistently ahead in Ohio and will likely take it just like North Carolina will go Romney and Florida is a toss up. Those are the facts. Can't deny any of this so all this cheer leading of "My guy is gonna win this or that" when the facts say clearly otherwise is nonsense. Focus on reality. The most rigorous measure (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/) gives Obama about an 80% chance of winning the electoral vote which means he probably will win and this probability has been steadily creeping up. The campaigns know this which makes you wonder why Romney is wasting time in Wisconsin. He will loose Wisconsin and they know this. It's all about Ohio but I guess if he spends all his time in Ohio it looks like he's blowing off the other states. Besides, they have a zillion dollars to spend.
"I wonder what sort of heinous advertising Karl Rove will toss out there at the last minute to help his guy Romney?"
He won't. The laws surrounding the PACs are so ridiculous and broken that there is a window of time that started on approximately October 17th during which they can form a new dark-money PAC that doesn't have to report its donors until the next reporting deadline, which is in December, so the GOPers/Teatrolls and people like Rove are busy exploiting that loophole right now....but it won't be Crossroads itself. One of those PACs that won't have to report donors until December has already released ads in OH, such as one telling black peopel to vote for the GOP because Lincoln set the slaves free. Totally absurd.
Where are the crosstabs? I'm sure this is another poll that is over polling the Dems. Probably D+6. That will never happen. Romney will win and all of Obamaites will be shocked. Pay attention people. Don't fall prey to every skewed piece of information. Be smarter than that. Get informed.
If Romney is not ahead in Ohio by now, he will never, ever do so. Sorry Mittens, you tried but we got you. If you are courageous try another time!
There is now a better chance that Democrats will actually gain power in the Sanate than that Romney will beat Obama.
This election will be seen as a referendum against the obstructionist Tea Party movement. Sure, it started out respectively, with Ron Paul at it's helm, being both fiscally responsible and socially moderate (as it closely matched the Libertarian platform), but once it sold out by Koch money and Fox News publcity and became focussed on extreme socially conservative positions, it lost all respect.
Bottom line: if Republicans want a chance at power in 2016, they are going to have to earn it by compromising with Democrats to get important things accomplished during the next 4 years. It should be clear that obstructionism is not going to be tolerated by the American people who want Congress to work together.
Once Obama is reelected, the motto "let our President fail" will no longer make sense and we can finally get the change we deserve.
The poll is bogus. It has Romney up 55 to 43 but down by quite a bit in early voting. This does not square with reality where polls show Romney no more than 6 behind Obama in early voting. Consider that early voting only makes up 40% of the vote in Ohio. Something is fishy here.
How is Mitt W. Romney going to create 12 millions jobs here in the U.S.
while he still owns manufacturing plants in Communist China ?
Remember that when you are voting.
about that 3rd Party candidate....we can always dream, right?
At least we're going to be spared the unthinkable "Bush III" Presidency! Bless you President Obama!
@Jeff Massaro – I am amazed that anyone can stand in the devastation that we now call The United States and still think that Barack Obama is the right choice for this country. Every single Obama supporter I know tells me to "know the facts." Okay! I looked up the facts for myself. Here they are:
4 years ago gas was $1.89 a gallon – Today it's $3.70 a gallon
4 years ago our national debt was $10.6 Trillion – Today it's $16 Trillion
4 years ago we had a AAA credit rating – Today, AA.
4 years ago food stamp recipients totaled 32 million – today 46 million
4 years ago the Median Weekly Wage was $731 – today it's $718 (in 2009 dollar value)
4 years ago the unemployment rate among Blacks was 7.4% – today it's 14.1% (almost double)
4 years ago 66% of Americans participated in the labor market – today 64% 7 million people have just given up.
I hate to break it to you Jeff ole buddy but much of your FACTS are wrong.
1. Gas is now around $3.00 a gallon and down everywhere.. and NEWSFLASH – the POTUS has no control over the price of gas. Fox News said so (it must be true then) when the highest gas national average price ($4.11) occured under Dubya in Jult 08.
2. 4 yrs ago the National Debt was $11.4T and did not account for Dubya's TWO unfunded wars. That was $3+T. So, the National Debt was really at $14.4T before Obama inherited it.
3. The AA rating was caused by the GOP. They also wrangled the impending fiscal cliff out of Obama that they are now whining about. Pure GOP!
4. The median weekly wage is actually UP 1.4% not down.
Since I can't find the data on working black to refute your numbers, I can't comment. But given the spin on the rest of your data, I think most thinking Americans could assume its as skewed. Nice try. Have a nice concession speech.
Obama/Biden 2012 -- because Mutt is a pathological liar that is for ONLY the 1%.
petra, 4 more years of the same? why dont you go in the corner with NOBAMA. go mitt!
Mitt the twit is a fool. He is not even fit to be a cook in the White House. Yes, on OBAMA12.
My vote's for President Obama.
Bloomberg is keeping the NY marathon going next week because one of Obama's cousins will probably win. It'll be the only Kenyan that wins a race next week.
Where are the internals to this poll?
Gary Johnson would have had 0%, 1%, 2% or 3% in the poll. Does it really matter which one of those numbers he has?
"How about including the candidate for the 3rd largest party in the USA, Gary Johnson, in a poll for once, CNN?"
He was included. He got 5%. And Obama still led Romney by 3%.
lol at the Republicans who cry foul when Obama is leading in any poll, but think the polls are correct that show Romney leading..and these people think they are intelligent?
You people for Obama should look up the history of the slogan "Forward". Some of you are really dumb..... and if you're that dumb, please stay home and don't vote. You're nothing be little sheep being lead by the Judas goat with the media giving you the prod. If you don't know what a Judas Goat is, look it up. You might find it interesting.