Early voting and enthusiasm
Early or absentee voting has already begun in most states across the country. One in five Ohio likely voters in this poll say they have already cast their ballot, and the president leads Romney among this group 54 to 39 percent. Among likely voters who have yet to cast their ballot, the race is much closer: the president leads 49 to 47 percent.
As has been the case throughout this election campaign, Ohio Republicans continue to be more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year. Fifty-two percent of Ohio Republicans say they're more enthusiastic compared to 40 percent of Democrats. Enthusiasm among both Republicans and Democrats has increased since last month, but Republicans still have the advantage.
In addition, Romney's supporters in Ohio are now more strongly behind him. 63 percent strongly favor him now, up from 51 percent last month. But the president still has the advantage on this: 74 percent of his voters strongly back him.
The two presidential candidates met for a second debate last week, and Ohio likely voters think Mr. Obama came out the winner. Forty-eight percent thought the president won the debate, 27 percent thought Romney won and 12 percent said it was a tie. Partisanship plays a role here: Most Democrats think Mr. Obama won the debate, while most Republicans say Romney was the winner. Independents choose Mr. Obama as the winner, 43 to 29 percent.
Still, most Ohio voters (more than six in 10) say the second debate will not impact their vote choice. Among those who say it will, 19 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Mr. Obama, while 14 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Romney.
Heading into the final debate tonight, 40 percent of Ohio voters expect Mr. Obama to win that debate, while 31 percent think Romney will be the winner.
Voters in Ohio are more optimistic now about both the national and state economies than they were in the summer. Now, 37 percent of Ohio voters think the nation's economy is getting better - up from 26 percent at the beginning of August - while 46 percent believe Ohio's economy is improving - up from 33 percent.
For full poll results, see next page
This poll was conducted by telephone from Quinnipiac University's interviewing facility October 17-20, 2012. The number of Ohio likely voters interviewed is 1,548. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.