PPP's newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading 51-46, a 5 point lead not too different from our last poll two weeks ago when he led 49-45.
The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they've already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven't voted yet, but the numbers make it clear that he already has a lot of ground to make up in the final three weeks before the election.
We've found a major improvement in Mitt Romney's image in most of the states that we've polled since the Presidential debate, but Ohio is an exception. His favorability now is a 45/51 spread, showing no improvement from his 45/49 breakdown two weeks ago. Obama meanwhile has seen a small spike in his approval rating, from 48/49 to 50/48.
The Vice Presidential debate may have given Obama at least a small boost as well. 46% of Ohio voters think Joe Biden won it to 37% who believe Paul Ryan was the victor. Biden's advantage is 44/32 with independents. 62% of both Democrats and Republicans say they're 'very excited' to vote this fall, reversing a trend we saw in some post-Presidential debate polling of GOP voters expressing more enthusiasm about the election this year.
One thing clear from our poll: Republican efforts to make a big deal out of Libya aren't succeeding. By a 51/43 margin, voters trust Obama more than Romney on dealing with that issue. Obama also has a 51/46 advantage on dealing with the economy that mirrors his overall lead.
One reason Romney might be struggling to get traction in Ohio even as he surges elsewhere is his record on the auto bailout. Voters in the state support it by a 54/37 margin, including 58/35 with independents. They think Obama would be better than Romney for the auto industry 50/43, and 79% of voters consider it to be an important issue including 42% who say it's 'very important.'
Others notes from Ohio:
-The state's referendum to create an independent commission on redistricting looks a little bit more alive than it did two weeks ago, although it's still an uphill battle. 37% of voters support it to 44% opposed, compared to a 26/49 spread last time. The main movement has been among Democrats who've gone from favoring it only narrowly (37/34) to pretty strong support (58/24).
-John Kasich has a 42/41 approval spread and leads a hypothetical Democratic opponent 45-42.
-John Boehner's very unpopular in his home state with a 33/46 approval rating. Nevertheless Republicans lead the generic Congressional ballot 44-42.
-Rob Portman has a 35/25 approval rating. 40% of voters have no opinion about him.
Full results here