Presidential races

Poll: Obama dips below 50 percent in Pa.

President Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania shrank slightly since the first presidential debate, but he retains a 6-point lead on Mitt Romney in a new poll of the state released Saturday by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

{mosads}Obama has the support of 49 percent of likely voters, while Romney takes 43 percent, and 9 percent remain undecided. That marks both a decline for Obama and an increase for Romney of 1 percentage point of support since the paper’s previous poll, conducted during the first week in October.

The president retains a double-digit lead among women, while he lags by 1 percentage point among men. And though his support overall may have waned since the first poll, his job performance rating has remained steady at 53-percent approval.

Romney is still viewed more negatively than positively in the state, with 46 percent viewing him favorably to 50 percent viewing him unfavorably.

Pennsylvania has long been considered a likely win for Obama, but this new survey may indicate Romney has an opening in the state. It’s never a safe bet for an incumbent to fall below the 50 percent threshold, and the Republican candidate for Senate in the state, Tom Smith, has gained on incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in recent days.

Because of Obama’s consistent lead there, however, both candidates have largely ignored what has typically been a battleground state in presidential years, but the president just sat for an interview with a Philadelphia-area radio host this week, an indication he may feel the need to reestablish some of his support there.

His campaign is now sending Jill Biden, the Vice President’s wife, to campaign in Pennsylvania on Sunday and Monday of this week, as well.

With a number of other races fluctuating daily, the Obama campaign’s election-day calculus requires the president to win Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral college votes, so this poll may spark both candidates to pay renewed attention to the state.

The Philadelphia Inquirer poll surveyed 600 likely voters from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–This post was published at 8:55 a.m. and updated at 12:35 p.m.

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