The Buckeye State continues to be the focus of the media and both presidential campaigns — and two new polls out today show Ohio a dead heat. Rasmussen’s latest poll shows a 49/49 tie, in a series that has shown the state a virtual tie since the general-election campaign began last spring:
The final Election 2012 Rasmussen Reports survey of Likely Ohio Voters shows Mitt Romney and President Obama each earning 49% support. One percent (1%) favors some other candidate in the race, and another one percent (1%) is undecided. …
The race in Ohio was tied late last week after Romney posted a slight 50% to 48% advantage a few days earlier. The candidates have been within two percentage points of one another or less in every survey in Ohio since May.
The bad news for Romney? According to Rasmussen’s poll, Obama has a 23-point lead among those who have already voted. Those numbers don’t match up to the early-voting numbers shown by Ohio’s official reports, however, where Republicans have gained over 260,000 in the gap over 2008. Regardless, Election Day voters are much more Republican; 71% of Republicans will go to the booth tomorrow, while slightly over half of all Democrats have already voted. Among independents, 40% have voted early.
In Rasmussen’s poll, that may also be bad news for Romney, depending on which 60% of independents remain. He trails among unaffiliated voters in this poll by eight, 50/42, although 17% say they could still change their minds. However, the gender gap has been completely neutralized, with 52/45 splits among men and women breaking in opposite directions. Obama has a favorable job approval rating, 51/48, in an R+2 sample (37/39/24).
The University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll shows Obama with a slight edge after allocating the leaners:
In the race for president, after allocation of undecided voters to the candidates they are most likely to support, the presidential race in Ohio stands at President Barack Obama 50.0 percent and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 48.5 percent. Other candidates on the ballot receive 1.5 percent.
UC didn’t supply any crosstabs or sample information. Clearly, Ohio could go in either direction, and it will be the strength of the ground game that matters.