Poll: Romney, Obama in ‘virtual tie’ among Ohio voters


By Marc Kovac

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney outpaced other GOP primary candidates and was in a “virtual tie” with President Barack Obama among Ohio voters.

That’s according to the latest Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey, which was released Wednesday.

Also, of the 1,610 registered voters polled by the institute over the past week, more than half (51 percent) also gave low marks for the president’s job performance and said he does not deserve a second term in office.

“With Ohio being perhaps the most important single state in the country when it comes to the electoral-college math, all indications are that if Romney is the Republican nominee it will be a very, very close contest,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a released statement. “The president’s problem is getting back the voters who voted for him in 2008 but went for John Kasich for governor in 2010. His main obstacle may be that voters say 48 percent to 42 percent that Romney is better able to fix the economy.”

Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohioans’ opinions on candidates and issues. Its poll results Wednesday have a margin of error of about 4 percent.

Romney led other Republicans still in the primary hunt, with 27 percent of registered voters siding with the former Massachusetts governor.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was second, with 18 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (17 percent), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (10 percent) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (4 percent).

The results are a flip from Quinnipiac’s December poll, when Republican voters sided with Gingrich over Romney, 36 percent to 18 percent.

“Gov. Mitt Romney is comfortably ahead of the Republican field,” Brown said. “If he continues to win primaries elsewhere, that margin will likely increase by the time the voting comes to Ohio on March 6. But if he should lose his momentum — and some primaries — then that lead might not be safe.”

Looking ahead to the general election, voters were almost evenly split between Obama and Romney, with 44 percent for the former and 42 percent for the latter.

The president outpaced other GOP presidential contenders by 9 percent to 14 percent.

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