A new Ohio poll among likely voters has Mitt Romney and President Obama locked in a tie in the key battleground state for the first time.
The latest Plain Dealer/Ohio Newspaper Organization poll has President Obama and Mitt Romney both at 49% with likely voters. The previous Ohio Newspaper poll from Sept. 23 had the president leading Romney by five points.
“We don’t know if that’s an outlier or if that’s the future, if that’s the momentum,” Joe Scarborough said Monday morning of the poll, which was conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research for several Ohio newspapers between October 18 and October 23.
Those polling dates fall after the first two presidential debates and during the third.
The race for president remains exceptionally tight nationally, and most Ohio polls have the president leading Romney by either four or five points. The most current average provided by RealClearPolitics for Ohio has the president at +1.9.
The poll raised some key issues among likely voters:
Fifty percent of voters said Obama would do the best job handling foreign policy, compared with 46% for Romney.
Fifty-one percent said Romney would do the best job handling the economy, compared with 45% for Obama.
Fifty-four percent of Democrats said the Obama administration’s loans to the auto industry will make them more likely to vote for the incumbent, while only 3% of Republicans gave that response – and 39 percent of them said it would make them less likely to support him. The largest share of Republicans, 57%, said the auto loans would make no difference in deciding for or against Obama.
Fifty-four percent of all likely voters said Romney’s controversial comments about Democratic voters and people dependent on government help – his “47%” remarks – would make no difference in how they vote.
While the president maintains a 51% to 47% lead in Virginia in the latest Washington Post poll, Joe Scarborough noted that the “liberals, Democrats” he’s spoken to are “scared.”
“I don’t know if they’re just more naturally worried than conservatives, but everywhere I go, people come up to me and grab me and say ‘It’s gonna be OK, right? He’s gonna win,’” he said.