Poll: Romney cuts Obama lead in Ohio down to 5 points

President Obama still leads Mitt Romney among likely voters in Ohio, but the margin has shrunk since September, according to a new Quinnipiac/CBS News poll.

The poll, released Monday, found Obama leading Romney 50 percent to 45 among likely Ohio voters. In September, the same poll found Obama leading 53 percent to 43. Three percent of likely voters surveyed said they are undecided.

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Broken down by gender, Obama holds a double-digit lead among women over Romney, with 55 percent supporting Obama to 40 percent supporting Romney. But that margin, too, is smaller than in September, when the poll found Obama leading Romney among female voters 60 to 35. Among men, 51 percent support Romney and 44 percent Obama, the poll found. 

On foreign policy, Obama leads Romney 50 percent to 43. Obama previously led Romney on the issue by 13 percentage points. Still, the lead will come as welcome news to the Obama campaign as the two presidential contenders square off in their third and final debate Monday night. The subject of the debate is foreign policy. 

Additionally, the poll found Ohioans see Obama as more compassionate about their problems than Romney. Sixty percent said the president cares more about the "needs and problems" of Ohio voters, while 37 percent said Romney cares more. That number is virtually unchanged from September. 

Fifty percent said Obama would do a better job helping the middle class, while 41 percent tapped Romney.

Overall, the poll's findings are consistent with other surveys, both at the state and national level, showing a tight race just ahead of Election Day. Both candidates see Ohio as crucial to their victory strategy and have spent considerable time and resources campaigning in the state, with a particular focus on winning over middle-class voters. 

"I'm not sure 53-43 was ever realistic," Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on CNN in response to the news that the president's lead had shrunk. Cutter said the Obama campaign was "very pleased" by the 5-percentage-point lead.

The Quinnipiac/CBS News poll was conducted among 1,548 likely Ohio voters between Oct. 17 and 20. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.