A couple good polls for Barack Obama in Ohio today.
A Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll (these things are starting to sound like movies) poll shows Obama leading by an impressive, 50%-44%, margin while a University of Cincinnati survey puts him up by a smaller 49%-46%.
Let's jump to key stats on the Quinnipiac poll:
a. Both candidates nail down 94% of their parties.
b. Romney leads with indies, 48%-43%.
c. Gender gap favors Obama big-time. Romney is only up by 2% among men, while Obama leads among women by 13%.
d. Whites put Romney up by 9%, while blacks prefer Obama by a comfortable 90% margin.
e. As per usual, both income groups below $50K favor Obama, while Romney leads the groups above that mark (though they're essentially tied on $50K-$100K in Ohio).
f. Romney's favorable rating is a bad 39%/45%, while Obama's sits at 51%/45%. I understand that this isn't a perfect measure of preference, but a 12% gap is tough to overcome.
Indies, though, aren't thrilled with either guy. Romney picks up a -7%, while Obama sits at -6%. Is that a function of all the negative ads in the state?
g. John Kasich's approval rating has rebounded to 45%/40%. That's a remarkable turnaround for a guy who was once bordering on being the most unpopular governor in the country.
Function of the state's improving economy?
h. Obama's approval rating is 49%/48%. That's close to the 50% mark he probably needs to win reelection. Note, though, that his approval rating with indies is a pretty bad 43%/54%.
i. Enthusiasm once again favors the GOP, as 45% of Republicans say they're abnormally excited about the election, while just 34% of Dems say the same and only 23% of indies.
j. Paul Ryan's favorability is 32%/27% and a strong 34%/21% with indies. It's pretty clear that the Ryan Rollout has been successful.
k. Obama wins on health care, 51%-43%. That's actually a slight jump for him from earlier this month, and shows that Romney's efforts here haven't paid off.
l. Obama kills Romney on taxes, 51%-41%.
m. Romney and Obama are tied on the economy, 47%-47%. Romney needs an advantage there or he's going to have severe trouble winning Ohio.
n. Romney wins on the budget deficit, 50%-40%.
o. Obama wins on foreign policy, 50%-40%.
p. Obama wins on Medicare, 51%-41%.
NOW... let's get to the University of Cincinnati poll, which has some important differences -- the chief of which is that Obama only leads here, 49%-46%.
a. The biggest difference is on the economy. Quinnipiac shows Romney and Obama tied, while the University of Cincinnati shows Romney leading on the issue, 49%-42%. That's a pretty important difference.
b. Obama leads in both polls on Medicare, although he's got a bigger one in the Q survey.
c. Massive gender gap. Men pick Romney by 15%, while women pick Obama by 18%.
d. Indies pick Romney, 51%-39%. Again, indies favor Romney in the Q poll, as well, but by a larger margin here.
e. Evangelicals. This is the most surprising result of all. Romney only wins evangelicals, 54%-43%. That's the closest I've seen the two in, really, any survey this year.
In fact, Romney leads them 70%-25% in Q poll, which is much more in line with other polls.
OVERALL: Ohio is still tough territory for Romney, and without Ohio, it's going to be a tough election for him.
He needs to raise his favorable numbers, which are too low to win right now.
For Obama, it's all about continuing to define Romney as out-of-touch and keeping his favorables low.