A new poll of likely Ohio voters shows President Obama at 50 percent and Mitt Romney at 48 percent, leading the Columbus Dispatch to call the race a “toss-up.” The partisan breakdown is 40 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican, and 21 percent independent. In case you haven’t memorized the 2004 and 2008 exit polls, that partisan breakdown is in-between the two most recent presidential years (although closer to ‘08 than ‘04): in 2008, Democrats had a +8 advantage and in 2004, Republicans has a +5 advantage. It also shows how important the partisan breakdown of the electorate is going to be: in yesterday’s Marist poll, the sample was +9 Democrat, and Romney was behind by 6 points.
However, Romney is leading in the area the Dispatch calls a “reliable barometer for the whole state”:
Obama’s lead is built on a 10-point advantage in heavily Democratic northeastern Ohio and a 5-point margin in central Ohio, regarded as a swing area this year. Romney rolls to a 23-point bulge in heavily Republican southwestern Ohio, a 17-point lead in western Ohio and a 4-point edge in northwestern Ohio, which in past elections has proved a reliable barometer for the whole state.