Paul Kostyu reports:
Two polls in Ohio have President Barack Obama leading his presumptive Republican opponent Mitt Romney, but it’s still a tight race.
The latest Ohio Poll released Thursday found Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 46 percent. The difference is within the survey’s margin of error. The findings came from a poll by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, which contacted 800 likely voters between Aug. 16 to Aug. 21.
The Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll also released today gave Obama a greater lead in Ohio, 50 percent to 44 percent, which is unchanged from its Aug. 1 survey. The university’s polling institute also surveyed likely voters in Florida and Wisconsin, where Obama leads Romney by three percentage points in each state.
In the race for U.S. Senate, the Ohio Poll said incumbent Sherrod Brown leads state Treasurer Josh Mandel 48 to 47 percent, also within the survey’s margin of error. But the Quinnipiac Poll gave Brown a 48 to 41 percent lead over Mandel. Independent voters split with 43 percent for the Republican and 42 percent for the Democrat.
The battle for Ohio, a key state in any presidential election, is far from over, the Ohio Poll found. Nearly one in five (17 percent) of Ohio voters say they may change their presidential choice before Election Day or are undecided. Even more, 21 percent, are still deciding who to vote for in the Senate race.
The No. 1 issue for Ohio voters? The economy. Fifty-one percent identified that as the most important issue when considering their presidential selection. Another 14 percent said the most important issue is health care or health insurance. Candidate positions on Medicare (6 percent) and taxes (5 percent) will help Ohioans determine their presidential choice.
Ohio voters said Romney will do a better job handling government spending and the economy, while Obama will do better with foreign policy and Medicare.
But the Quinnipiac Poll drew a different conclusion.
“Ohio voters see no difference between Obama or Romney on handling the economy,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “On every other issue but one, reducing the budget deficit, voters give the president the edge. Be it taxes, foreign policy or Medicare and health care, they see Obama as preferable.”