President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney in one of 2012's most crucial swing states, according to a new poll.
Obama leads the Republican nominee 45 percent to 50 percent in Ohio, according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The survey also found that Ohioans believe Democrats had the better national convention.
The 5-point lead in the latest PPP poll is an improvement for Obama, but still well within the margin of error -- in its August poll of the state, the president held at 3-point lead over Romney, holding steady from July.
"It's hard to see a path to victory for Mitt Romney without Ohio," Dean Debnam, president of PPP, said in a statement. "But Barack Obama's led in our polling there all year and now his advantage is getting larger."
There seems to be a pretty simple reason for an uptick in Obama's support -- more voters in Ohio approve of the job he's doing. In July PPP clocked his approval at 44 percent, compared with 51 percent who disapproved. It wasn't much better in August, when 46 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved. Now the president's approval is up to 48 percent, the same number as those who disapprove.
PPP pointed to some internal numbers behind Obama's Ohio lead -- Democrats are lining up behind him, and he's fighting back among groups that have favored Romney:
Romney actually leads 46-44 with independents but Obama has the overall advantage thanks to a more unified party base. He leads 86/11 with Democrats, compared to Romney's 83/13 advantage with Republicans. Obama's 75 point lead within his own party is up from 70 points a month ago, suggesting that his party has coalesced around him a little bit more in the wake of a successful convention.
Obama's leading in Ohio because he's not as weak there with some large voter blocs as he is in other states. He trails only 48-46 with men and 50-46 with whites, and actually leads 49-47 with seniors. His performance with those groups is far better than it is nationally Romney would need much wider leads with them if he was going to take Ohio.
Overall Obama leads Ohio in the PollTracker Average of all public polling by 0.9 percent.
The PPP poll used 1,072 automated interviews with likely voters via landline (automated surveys are prohibited from calling cell phones) conducted Sept. 7-9. It has a sampling error of 3 percent.