Obama's approval rating in the state is only 43%, with 52% of voters disapproving of him. He's very unpopular with independents at 39/57, and even with Democrats his approval has dropped to a worrisome low of 73%. He's in particularly bad shape with white voters (37/57) and men (38/58).
A head to head between Obama and Romney would be a tie at this point, with each candidate getting 46%. Those numbers are worse for Obama than they appear to be on the surface though- just 18% of the undecided voters approve of the job he's doing. When those folks make up their minds they're not very likely to end up in Obama's camp. Romney has an 11 point advantage with independents and pulls 12% of the Democratic vote while losing only 4% of Republicans to Obama.
Also within striking range of Obama is Herman Cain, who trails the President only 48/45. Cain is the only one of the Republicans with a positive favorability rating in Ohio, at 41/37. Independents see him favorably by a 50/23 margin and 18% of Democrats with a positive opinion of him is higher than for any of the other GOP candidates. Cain's long term viability for the Republican nomination still seems questionable despite his current poll standing, but these numbers suggest that he might actually be a viable general election candidate.
The rest of the Republican field performs horribly against Obama. The President can only hope that Rick Perry has a resurgence and ends up winning the nomination. Perry has an atrocious 21/61 favorability rating and trails Obama by 9 points, 50/41. The last time a Republican managed to lose Ohio by that big a margin was Barry Goldwater in 1964. Obama is also up 8 points on Ron Paul at 48-40, 9 points on Michele Bachmann at 49-40, and 11 points on Newt Gingrich at 51-40.
With Obama's approval numbers what they are in Ohio he's lucky to still be in the game in the state, and the fact that he is is a testament to the weakness of the Republican candidate field. But as long as the GOP ends up going with its most viable candidate, Ohio is going to be a very tough hold for Obama next year.
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