Barack Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney in Ohio, 47-44. But that's Obama's weakest showing in the state in PPP's polling since last October. He had led by 50-43 and 49-42 spreads in our two previous 2012 polls.
The big decline for Obama over the last couple months has been with white voters. He and Romney were basically tied with them earlier this year, but now Romney has opened up a 49-42 advantage with them. It's actually white Democrats with whom Obama's seen the biggest decline recently. In early May he had an 89-6 lead with them, but that's now declined to 78-16.
Obama's approval rating in Ohio has dipped to 44/51, a net 7 point drop from the polls earlier this year when voters split evenly on him at 48/48. That Obama has a small advantage in the state anyway is a testament to Romney's weakness as a candidate. Only 35% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% with a negative one. With Obama's approval numbers where they are he would almost definitely be trailing if the GOP had a top notch candidate against him- but it really just doesn't.
The breakdown of the undecideds in this race speaks to a deeply unhappy electorate. Obama's approval rating with them is 9%, with 65% disapproving of him. But Romney barely fares better, with 9% rating him favorably and 61% holding a negative opinion of him.
Obama continues to have a tenuous lead in Ohio based largely on his support with three core constituencies: African Americans (93-6), young voters (54-36), and women (52-41).
We also tested John Kasich and John Boehner as potential running mate choices, less because they're realistic options than because it's a good measure of the Republican brand in Ohio. Kasich has a 40/48 approval rating and if he was on the ticket Obama's lead would expand to 48/42. And Boehner has a 34/46 approval rating- if he was Romney's running mate Obama's lead would push out to 49/41. Ohio doesn't much care for its GOP politicians and that could explain part of the willingness of voters in the state to support Obama despite being less than thrilled with his job performance to date.
Obama remains a modest favorite in Ohio but his struggles with white voters are starting to make it look dicier for him.
Full results here