New polls released in four swing states on Tuesday all indicate President Barack Obama edging out Republican nominee Mitt Romney by four to eight points, including by eight-points in Ohio, where Romney is making several campaign stops Tuesday and Wednesday. In each survey, Obama's advantage is within the poll's sampling error, but each survey indicates the president grabbing at least 50 percent of the likely voters interviewed.
The fresh batch of polls in Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Nevada - which together account for 59 electoral votes - were released by the Washington Post and American Research Group and were all conducted over the past six days, after the release of secretly recorded clips from a May fund-raiser, in which Romney casts Obama supporters as dependent on government. The story dominated coverage of the race for the White House last week.
As Romney teams up with running mate Rep. Paul Ryan in Ohio Tuesday, a new Washington Post poll indicates he trails President Barack Obama by eight points. According to the survey, 52 percent of likely voters in the Buckeye State say they support the president, with 44 percent backing the Republican presidential nominee. Obama's eight-point advantage is just within the survey's sampling error.
Ohio and its 18 electoral votes are crucial to winning the White House. In modern times, no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio. It was the state that put President George W. Bush over the top in his 2004 re-election, but four years ago then-Sen. Obama topped Sen. John McCain by five points in Ohio.
The Washington Post poll is the fifth non-partisan, live-operator survey to be conducted in Ohio over the past two weeks. A CNN Poll of Polls that averages all five surveys puts Obama at 50 percent and Romney at 44 percent among likely voters. Some partisan polling indicates a closer contest.
The new Washington Post poll indicates that 56 percent of Ohio registered voters approve of the job Obama's doing as president, with 53 percent giving him a thumbs up on the job he's doing on the economy. And by a 50 percent-43 percent margin, Buckeye State voters say they trust the president rather than Romney to deal with the economy.
"Romney has a good reason to return to the campaign trail in Ohio. The last publicly-released poll in that state which showed him on top was done in early September, before the Democratic convention," says CNN polling director Keating Holland.
A new Washington Post survey in Florida indicates a closer contest, with the president at 51 percent and Romney at 47 percent, which is within the survey's sampling error. American Research Group is also out Tuesday with a new poll in Florida, which indicates the president at 50 percent and Romney at 45 percent, again with the survey's sampling error.
There are now five non-partisan, live-operator, polls conducted in the Sunshine State over the past two weeks. A CNN Poll of Polls that averages all five surveys puts Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 45 percent among likely voters. As with Ohio, some partisan polling in Florida has the battle for the state's 29 electoral votes much closer.
Florida is another state that Obama turned from red to blue four years ago, edging out McCain by three points.
American Research Group also has a new poll in Iowa, which indicates the president holding a 51 percent-44 percent advantage over Romney among likely voters. The seven point margin is just within the survey's sampling error. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released last week, Obama had a 50 percent-42 percent lead in the Hawkeye State. President Bush narrowly edged out Sen. John Kerry in Iowa in the 2004 election, but Obama won the state by ten points four years ago. Six electoral votes are at stake in Iowa.
ARG also released a new survey in Nevada that indicates the president with the same 51 percent-44 percent advantage. A CNN/ORC International poll released last week indicated a closer contest, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 46 percent among likely voters. Bush won Nevada in 2004, but Obama carried the state by 12-points four years ago. Six electoral votes are up for grabs in the Silver State.
"In Nevada, you have to go back to April to find a poll that showed more support for Romney than Obama," adds Holland.
While Romney has been pulled off message the past couple of weeks and forced to deal with distractions, Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos says Romney has already proved this cycle that he can make a comeback.
"Romney has proven resilient throughout this campaign," said Castellanos, a senior media adviser to Romney's 2008 campaign. "Now he's being tested again. He has to show voters he has presidential strength, the capacity to get back on his feet after being knocked down."
But the clock's ticking. Tuesday marks six weeks until Election Day, and early voting under way already in a handful of states.