Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s much lauded debate performance last week has helped him gain ground in one of the most crucial states to his election prospects — Ohio.
A CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday, conducted from Oct. 5 through Oct. 8 in the aftermath of the debate, shows Romney and President Barack Obama in a very close race in the Buckeye State.
The poll found Obama leading with 51 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for him and Vice President Joe Biden if the election were held today. Forty-seven percent said that they would vote for Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. The poll has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.
With Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the poll, since they will be on the ballot on election day, the race gets even tighter: Obama’s total drops to 48 percent, while Romney falls to 45 percent.
The people the two campaigns must aggressively target in the final month are the 13 percent of likely voters who say that they are liable to change their mind before election day.
As might be expected, 19 percent of those voters identify as independents. In this poll, Obama leads among independents, 50 percent to 46 percent.
However, somewhat troubling for Romney, while just five percent of Democrats say they might change their mind, 16 percent of Republicans say they might change sides. In this poll, 94 percent of Republicans said they were planning to vote for Romney.
Romney also suffers a big gender gap — 60 percent of women split for Obama, while just 38 percent of women go for Romney. Romney gets 56 percent of men, compared to 42 percent who go for Obama.
Obama has less of an advantage among white voters: He leads Romney just 52-46 among white women, and loses badly among white men, 64-34.
ORC surveyed 1,020 Ohio voters in telephone interviews. The sample of likely voters is 722 subjects.
An ARG poll released Tuesday found Romney and Obama to be tied in the Buckeye State. Polls prior to last week’s debate in Colorado found Obama consistently leading in the state.