In a new poll of likely voters in Ohio, Mitt Romney has climbed to a 49 percent tie with President Obama just nine days from Election Day. It’s a huge reversal from a month ago when Obama led 51 percent to 46 percent.
The poll by the Ohio Newspaper Organization, a consortium of the state’s eight largest newspapers, showed 1 percent of voters undecided and 1 percent for someone else – the shrinking group that as of now holds the key to the election.
Coinciding with that Romney-boosting poll in Ohio, a new Rasmussen poll in Wisconsin shows another tie at 49 percent for the two candidates. That prompted pollster Scott Rasmussen to say Wisconsin may be the “new Ohio,” set to provide the winning margin nationally.
In Wisconsin, Romney has closed the gap this month as Obama has dropped from 51 percent down to the tie at 49 percent. There’s a razor thin margin of undecideds left as 96 percent of voters tell Rasmussen they are sure to vote — and among this election-deciding group, Romney leads by 51 percent to Obama’s 47 percent. Among the 90 percent that have made up their minds on their choice, Romney leads by 51-48 percent in this poll. On the critical issue of who is more trusted on the economy, Romney wins by six points, 50 percent to 44 percent among all voters in Wisconsin.
Nationwide, Rasmussen’s poll released Sunday showed Romney ahead with 50 percent of voters to Obama’s 47 percent. Significantly, only one percent remained undecided and one percent preferred someone else. That’s the popular vote, but electoral votes decide the winner – making states like Ohio and Wisconsin ever more critical.
Romney is gaining ground in the 11 states Obama won four years ago and is now considered to be competitive with a combined 146 electoral college votes. In addition to Ohio and Wisconsin, the states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In these 11 states, Romney leads by 50 percent to Obama’s 46 percent with two percent still undecided, two percent for someone else. This runs counter to Obama’s 2008 victory in the same states by a margin of 53 to 46 percent, which Rasmussen notes was about the same as his national margin then.
Rasmussen’s calculations give Obama 237 electoral votes and Romney 235, assuming Florida and North Carolina go Romney. If Romney loses Ohio, then any other route to the required 270 electoral votes means he must carry Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, hence the pollster’s “new Ohio” idea.
With such a tight race nationwide, Rasmussen foresees the possibility of the worst-case scenario with Romney taking the popular vote but Obama winning the electoral vote. If that should happen, it will once again call in question the electoral college system that allots votes by states instead of by popular vote – but it won’t change the result.