PPP's newest poll of the Presidential race in Ohio finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49-45, down just slightly from a 50-45 advantage on our last independent poll there three weeks ago.
It's a mistake to think based on recent polling in Ohio that the race there is over. Obama is not popular in the state, with 48% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapprove. Among voters who remain undecided there just 13% think he's doing a good job to 65% who give him poor marks. That doesn't mean those folks will move to Romney en masse because they don't particularly like him either (a 26/37 favorability rating) but it does mean there's potential for the race there to get within tossup range over the final five weeks.
The reason Obama continues to lead in Ohio despite not being all that popular in his own right is Romney's inability to make a positive impression on voters in the state. Only 45% of voters see him favorably to 49% with a negative opinion, numbers virtually unchanged from 44/49 on our previous poll. Romney shot himself in the foot with his recent '47%' comments. By a 53/42 margin voters thought they were inappropriate and 40% say they made them less likely to vote for Romney compared to only 31% who considered them a positive. The comments haven't caused Romney to fall further behind in Ohio, but they may have hindered his ability to flip the reluctant Obama voters he'll need to emerge victorious in the state.
A few other notes from Ohio:
-Key for Obama is that he's down only 49-46 with white voters and 48-47 with seniors. Those are groups Romney's going to need to run the score up with if he wants to win, and right now it's not happening.
-66% of Democrats in Ohio say they're 'very excited' about voting this fall compared to 62% of Republicans. It continues to look as if there will be little or no pro-Republican enthusiasm gap this year compared to 2008.
-Obama and Romney tie at 47% in terms of who voters trust more on the economy, but Obama has a 49/45 advantage on foreign policy.
Full results here