Rasmussen Reports, the first polling outfit to release a survey from Ohio taken after the third and final presidential debate, shows that Mitt Romney has now pulled even with President Obama among the state’s likely voters — at 48 percent support apiece. This is the first time since the summer that Rasmussen doesn’t show Obama ahead in Ohio. In four previous polls released this fall, Rasmussen had always shown Obama ahead in the Buckeye State — by one point each time.
Today’s release is the first Ohio poll in which Rasmussen shows each of the two candidates’ net favorability ratings, which can sometimes seem to provide an early indication of future polling movement. The poll shows Romney with a net favorability rating of +5 points (51 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable) and Obama with a net favorability rating of zero points (49 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable). Among those who view either candidate “very” favorably or unfavorably (which is most people in this rather polarized election), Romney’s tally is +3 points (38 percent “very” favorable, 35 percent “very” unfavorable), while Obama’s is minus-3 points (37 percent “very” favorable, 40 percent “very” unfavorable).
Romney, however, will have to overcome Obama’s edge among early voters. Rasmussen writes, “The Obama campaign has a very strong ground game in the Buckeye State. Ohio allows early voting, and among those who have already voted, the president has a 10-point lead. But that’s a smaller advantage than he had a week ago.”
Ohio voters trust Romney over Obama on the economy (51 percent trust Romney more; 44 percent trust Obama more). Similarly, they predict the economy would get better (46 percent), rather than worse (36 percent), under Republican control of the presidency and Congress, while predicting it would get worse (40 percent), rather than better (37 percent), under Democratic control.
In addition, as Ohio voters have shown in the past, they can’t stand Obamacare — which could give Romney an advantage if he presses that case (in person and especially on the airwaves) in the final fortnight of the race.
In the six other Ohio polls taken in the past week and listed by Real Clear Politics, Obama holds the lead in four (by an average of 3 points), while two show the race tied. Each of those polls was taken before Monday night’s debate.