Obama leads Republican opponents in swing state Ohio

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Despite an upside down approval rating, President Barack Obama leads the Republican frontrunners in the crucial swing state of Ohio.

According to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, Ohioans would choose Obama over leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 45 percent to 41 percent, and has a wider lead over candidates Herman Cain and Rick Perry. He leads Perry by an 11-point margin (47 percent to 36 percent) and Cain by 8 points (47 percent to 39 percent).

Obama has widened his lead over Romney and Perry since last month, and this is the first time Quinnipiac has pitted him against Cain. In September, Obama had a narrow 3-point lead over Perry, which he has now tripled. Last month, he and Romney were statistically tied, 44 percent to 42 percent, but the president has edged forward since.

These gains come in spite of Obama’s underwater job approval rating in the state, with just 43 percent saying they approve of his job performance and 51 percent saying they disapprove. He is particular unpopular among independents, 55 percent of whom disapprove of his performance while just 35 percent approve.

Romney is the Republican candidate who appears to have most successfully wooed that important demographic, and they break for him 43 percent to 36 percent when he is pitted against Obama. If Cain is the nominee, independents are split between him and the president, with 40 percent going to each. Perry, however, holds little appeal for independent voters. Independents choose Obama over him 40 percent to 35 percent.

Among Republicans, Cain is the favorite for the nomination, getting 28 percent of the vote, followed by Romney who gets 23 percent. Perry’s fortunes, on the other hand have fallen and he now sits at 4 percent, down from 20 percent last month. Cain has seen the opposite progression, jumping 21 points in the state since last month. Meanwhile, Romney has remained constant. Ron Paul holds third place in the state with 8 percent, closely followed by Newt Gingrich with 7 percent.

Cain, who was written off by many as a flash in the pan, has nonetheless maintained his standing in recent polls. Public Policy Polling found him leading the field in Wisconsin, and narrowly trailing Romney in Nevada. A New York Times/CBS poll released Wednesday found him leading nationally.

The Quinnipiac poll is based on a survey of 1,668 Ohio voters from October 17 to October 23, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. The sample of Republican primary voters included 542 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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