The Persistent, Zombie-Like Ohio Lead for Obama

The new CBS News/Quinnipiac poll of Ohio surveys the damage to Obama since the first presidential debate. A 10-point lead, 53-43, reduces to a 50-45 lead. This is the data point that the Unskewers will probably be “ah-HA!”-ing.

Romney has made some inroads with independents; he now leads among this group by seven points, 49 to 42 percent. Romney had a one-point advantage among independents in September.

But didn’t Ohio independents break for Obama in 2008, when he won the state narrowly? Yes. But this is something that’s confused Unskewers as they’ve tried to dismiss Ohio polls. The state has no partisan registration. A voter’s “party,” when he requests a ballot, is the last primary he voted in. Thus, it looks like Republicans have completely solved their early vote/absentee problem of 2008 – in all these swing counties, they’re requesting more ballots! But the 2008 absentee voter was more likely to vote in the competitive Democratic primary, and the 2012 voter more likely to vote in Romney-Santorum.

The upshot: Obama’s chance at an inside straight in the Midwest is about as solid as it was two months ago. Another Ohio poll, from Gravis, has Obama tied with Romney, 47-47. That’s up from a 1-point Obama deficit after the Denver debate.