Obama leads Romney by seven in key swing state of Ohio, poll finds

Obama leads Romney by 7 points in a new poll, but that lead narrows to 2 points if Romney runs with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 7 percentage points in the crucial swing state of Ohio, according to a new poll from the Democrat-affiliated group Public Policy Polling.

ADVERTISEMENT
Obama leads Romney by 50 to 43 percent in the state, a 7-point lead that is unchanged from the last time PPP surveyed the state in January. Obama's lead narrows slightly to 49 to 44 percent if Romney chooses Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as his running mate, although most Ohio voters have little opinion of Portman.

The numbers seem driven more by Ohio voters' dislike for Romney than from any positive feelings toward the president. Obama's approval and disapproval numbers are even at 48 percent, while 53 percent disapprove of Romney and only 37 percent approve of the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney narrowly won Ohio's GOP primary after deploying millions of dollars in attack ads against former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

While Portman helps Romney slightly in the poll, most voters know little about him — more than a third of voters have no opinion of his job performance, "the highest level of indifference we've found to any of the 87 sitting senators we've polled on in their home states," according to pollster Tom Jensen.

Ohio's other two most prominent Republicans are fairly unpopular in the state as well: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has 34 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who pushed through an unpopular bill curtailing collective bargaining rights that was later repealed in a referendum, has 38 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval in the state.

The automated poll of 875 registered Ohio voters was conducted from May 3-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.