Rasmussen: Romney now up in Ohio

Not just in Ohio, Rasmussen states, but also in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.  In case you haven’t been keeping score, those are four states that Barack Obama won in 2008, and which Mitt Romney must take away to have a shot at the Presidency in November.  According to the latest from Rasmussen, Romney’s on his way.  After just one month of focusing all his efforts on Obama, Romney now has leads in all four swing states:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Mitt Romney with 46% of the vote to President Obama’s 45%. …

Romney has inched ahead of Obama in Ohio, taking the lead in the key battleground state after the president has led there for several months.  This also marks a continuing shift in the critical Core Four states – Ohio, FloridaNorth Carolina and Virginia – with the Republican now leading in all four for the first time in Rasmussen Reports polling this year.

Only the Ohio numbers are fresh, actually, but they are critical.  “Inched” is probably a good description for Ohio; Romney leads only by two, 46/44.  The low level of support for Obama as an incumbent with Romney only now winning the GOP nomination is probably the bigger story.  Rasmussen has a D/R/I sample in this survey of 34/31/35, which is much better for Democrats than the 36/37/28 that turned out in the 2010 midterms.  If anything, this poll might undersample Republicans.

Romney leads Obama among independents by a wide margin, 47/35, a disastrous outcome for Obama in Ohio. The gender gap actually tilts slightly in Romney’s favor, with a 51/39 lead among men and a 41/48 deficit among women.  Romney wins majorities among the two older age demos, while losing younger voters by 21 points, 32/53.  Obama loses or ties in all income demographics except the under-$20K demo, winning that 57/31.

Some of the questions on this survey produce rather amusing results.  For instance, 55% of respondents say they’re choosing between the lesser of two evils rather than out of enthusiasm for Romney or Obama, with the majority of Democrats enthused and two-thirds of Republicans and independents resigned to their vote.   Two-thirds say that the process has not produced the best possible candidates, with that judgment more or less consistent across partisan lines.  Among more traditional measures, Romney leads on the economy by nine points, and that will undoubtedly worsen if the jobs numbers slide tomorrow and the next couple of months, as it looks like they might.  His favorability is low at 48/50, but Obama’s job approval is worse at 46/54.  Among independents, it’s an absolutely horrid 35/65, with 45% of independents strongly disapproving of Obama’s performance.

Losing a grip on Ohio in and of itself isn’t a campaign-ender for Obama.  The problem will be whether that trend spills over into Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as Wisconsin.  If Obama loses those states as well as Florida and Virginia, the election will be over before the Central Time Zone states close their polls on Election Day.