Monday, October 06, 2008

Obama opens a lead in Ohio but not in its hills; he gains in Pa., where McCain banks on character

UPDATES, Oct. 7: A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in Ohio Oct. 3-5 shows Obama leading McCain 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, with an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. (Read more) A CNN-Time-Opinion Research Corp. poll, taken in the state Oct. 3-6, gave Obama a lead of 50-47, plus or minus 3.5 for each figure.

Barack Obama has opened up a lead over John McCain in Ohio, a battleground state that has proven decisive in many presidential elections, but still appears to trail McCain in rural Appalachian Ohio, according to a Columbus Dispatch Poll taken Sept. 24 through Oct. 3 and published yesterday.

Obama led McCain statewide, 49 percent to 42 percent, plus or minus 2 percentage points. McCain lead Obama in Southeast Ohio 47 percent to 39 percent, probably within the error margin for that smaller sample, but the Dispatch didn't give subsample margins. McCain led in Southwest Ohio 50 to 45 percent and in west-central 50 to 39. Central Ohio was virtually even, with McCain leading 47-45, while Obama led in the northeast 57-35 and the northwest 45-41.

McCain "is scheduled to appear in Cleveland on Wednesday, while Obama plans a two-day bus trip across Ohio this week," the Dispatch's Darrel Rowland writes. (Read more) To help sign up more young voters on today's registration deadline, Obama's campaign had Bruce Springsteen play at a free concert at Ohio State yesterday.

Though McCain gave up on another Great Lakes state, Michigan, last week, and fell far behind in the most recent public poll in Pennsylvania, the latter state will stay in his sights, Chuck Todd and Mark Murray write on NBC News' First Read: "If there is one blue state the McCain campaign may never give up on, it's the Keystone State. Of all the Kerry blue states, it's the most competitive -- even right now at a time that appears to be Obama's high-water mark. Of the remaining blue states in play, Pennsylvania may be the most culturally sensitive and may explain why the McCain folks want to shift the debate a bit to character. Shifting the campaign to character isn't about changing the national narrative; it's about keeping the undecided column larger in Pennsylvania. Now, the character strategy could backfire in a Florida or even a Nevada or Colorado. But Pennsylvania, by the numbers, is worth it to McCain."

Obama led McCain 54 percent to 39 percent in Pennsylvania Sept. 27-29, according to a Qunnipiac University poll. Other battleground-state polls by QU's Polling Institute found Obama leading in Ohio 50 to 42 percent and in Florida 51 to 43. All the surveys had error margins of just under 3 percentage points. For details, click here.

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