Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain Opens Modest Lead in Ohio

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John McCain has opened a modest lead over Barack Obama in the key swing state of Ohio. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Buckeye State shows McCain attracting 46% of the vote while Obama earns 40%. Last month and the month before McCain held a insignificant one-point lead over Obama.

Seven percent (7%) of voters say they’d prefer a third party candidate over either McCain or Obama and another 7% remain undecided.

When “leaners” are included in the totals, McCain leads Obama 52% to 42%.

McCain is now viewed favorably by 57%, little changed from a month ago. Obama gets favorable marks from 50% of the state’s voters, down three points from June but up three points since May.

Nationally, the candidates are very competitive in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

McCain is supported by 88% of Republicans and Obama earns the vote from 74% of Democrats. Both candidates gain three points from within their own party when leaners are included. However, McCain’s lead among unaffiliated voters jumps from a nine-point advantage without leaners to twenty-three points with leaners.

Among white Democrats in Ohio, Obama leads 71% to 21% (with leaners).

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Ohio voters believe most reporters are trying to help Obama win the election. Just 13% believe they are trying to help McCain and 21% think the journalists are attempting to present unbiased coverage. These figures are similar to the results of a national survey released yesterday.

Economic issues are most important to 49% of Ohio voters while national security concerns are the top priority for 24%. Obama has an eighteen point advantage among those most concerned with economic issues while McCain leads 79% to 21% among those who focus primarily on national security issues.

Sixty-four percent (64%) support offshore oil drilling while 22% are opposed. These figures are close to the national average. Fifty-four percent (54%) say reducing the price of gas and oil is more important than protecting the environment. Just 28% disagree and say protecting the environment is more important. A recent national survey showed that Al Gore’s proposals for clean energy are viewed by voters as unrealistic and costly.

Fifty-five percent (55%) believe the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror while 23% believe the terrorists are winning. Those figures are a bit more optimistic than the national average. However, across the nation, confidence in the War on Terror is near the highest levels of the past four years. Forty-two percent (42%) of voters say that Afghanistan is the central front in the War on Terror while 28% believe that front is in Iraq. These figures, too, mirror the national findings.

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 is a classic swing state that also voted for Democrat Bill Clinton twice in the 1990s.

Rasmussen Markets data shows that Democrats are currently given a 62.0% chance of carrying Ohio this November. With release of this poll, Ohio shifts from “Leans Democrat” to “Toss-Up” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator. NOTE: Factors other than the latest Rasmussen Reports poll impact the Balance of Power ratings. The current status is indicated on the table in the upper righthand corner of this article.

Nearly half of Ohio voters (46%) say President Bush is doing a poor job, while 34% give him good or excellent marks. That latter figure is down a point since last month.

Approval ratings for Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, dropped slightly with 44% rating his job performance good or excellent. A month ago that figure was 47%. Seventeen percent (17%) now say he is doing a poor job.

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