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Ohio: McCain, Obama Neck-and-Neck

John McCain and Barack Obama remain in a statistical dead heat in the key swing state of Ohio, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Buckeye State.

McCain holds a statistically insignificant one-point lead over Obama, 44% to 43%, among likely voters. Seven percent (7%) favor a third-party candidate and 7% are undecided.

A month ago, when Hillary Clinton was still in the Democratic race, McCain also held an insignificant one-point lead over Obama and the GOP hopeful actually polled 7% lower than Clinton among Ohio voters. Clinton defeated Obama in the Ohio Primary by 8 percentage points.

Both candidates have experienced similar bumps in their favorability ratings. McCain is now viewed favorably by 58%, up from 53% in May. Obama gets favorable marks from 53% of the state’s voters, up from 47%.

The survey, taken Tuesday night, suggests that the modest bounce in the polls that Obama experienced nationwide following Clinton’s departure from the race may be settling out. Nationally, Obama retains a modest lead in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

Also, early this week McCain and Obama sparred over the need for offshore drilling to help curb rising gas prices. Seventy-one percent (71%) of Ohio voters agree with McCain’s position that the ban on offshore drilling should be lifted, while 18% disagree. Nationally, there is strong support for this approach.

Although Obama campaigned in Ohio last Friday to promote his domestic economic agenda, his campaign was forced to spend much of its time knocking down reports that it believes it can win the presidency without the Buckeye State’s 20 Electoral College votes.

Interestingly nearly half of Ohio voters (48%) think Obama is too inexperienced to be president, although 44% don’t agree and nine percent (9%) are undecided.

McCain now leads by three percentage points among men (45% to 42%), but he and Obama each have 43% of the female vote.

With Clinton out of the race, Obama’s share of the Democratic vote has increased to 73%, up from 65% last month. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans back McCain, up two percentage points from May.

Perhaps reflecting his maverick image, McCain has a 44% to 38% edge over his Democratic opponent among moderate voters. More predictably, 71% of conservatives support McCain while 77% of liberals back Obama.

McCain still leads among most voters in the $20,000-$100,000 income range, while those earning less or more than those amounts continue to favor Obama.

Ohio was key to President Bush’s reelection in 2004, going narrowly for him over John Kerry. Bush also carried the state in 2000, but Ohio swung to Democrat Bill Clinton in the two previous presidential contests.

Rasmussen Markets data shows that Democrats are currently given a % chance of carrying Ohio this November. Ohio is still rated a “Toss-Up” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator. In terms of Electoral College votes, it is currently the largest of the Toss-Up states.

In the new survey, only 28% of Ohio voters think Clinton should be Obama’s running mate, with 55% opposed. Clinton will make her first campaign appearance with Obama next week since quitting the race.

Two out of three voters (66%) do not think McCain is too old to be president, while 31% say he is.

For Ohio voters, bringing the troops home is more importantly than winning the war – 53% to 39%. Those figures are very similar to the national average.

Like most voters nationwide, 71% think government has become a special interest of its own. Fifteen percent (15%) of Ohio voters disagree. Three out of four voters (75%) say the government does not represent the will of the people, although 13% think it does.

Ohio voters are divided on the benefits of free trade for the U.S. economy, with 38% seeing it is a good thing, 34% characterizing it as bad, and 19% saying neither. This is similar to the national mood which also shows that 56% believe the North American Free Trade Agreement should be renegotiated.

Forty-nine percent (49%) oppose nationalizing U.S. oil companies, while 34% favor such a move.

Nearly half of Ohio voters (49%) say President Bush is doing a poor job, while 35% give him good or excellent marks.

Approval ratings for Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, remain virtually unchanged, with 47% rating his job performance good or excellent. Fifteen percent (15%) rate him poor.

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Ohio Toss-Up

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

"538" Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

McCain (R)

49%

48%

45%

Obama (D)

49%

48%

48%

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports June 17, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Ohio Trends: McCain vs. Obama

Date

McCain

Obama

11/02/2008

49%

49%

10/26/2008

45%

49%

10/19/2008

49%

47%

10/14/2008

49%

49%

10/12/2008

47%

49%

10/05/2008

48%

47%

09/28/2008

48%

47%

09/24/2008

47%

46%

09/21/2008

50%

46%

09/14/2008

48%

45%

09/08/2008

51%

44%

08/18/2008

45%

41%

08/21/2008

46%

40%

06/17/2008

44%

43%

05/14/2008

45%

44%

04/08/2008

47%

40%

03/13/2008

46%

40%

02/19/2008

42%

41%


Favorable Ratings for Presidential Candidates in Ohio

 

McCain

Obama

Very Favorable

36%

40%

Somewhat Favorable

21%

10%

Somewhat Unfavorable

19%

11%

Very Unfavorable

20%

37%

Not Sure

3%

3%


Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary

Republicans

160

Democrats

173

Toss-Ups & Leaners

205


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.