Written By: Catalina Camia, USA Today
President Obama has opened up a lead in Ohio over Mitt Romney, but he's having a harder time gaining ground in North Carolina, according to new polls in those key swing states.
Obama leads Romney 50% to 45% among likely voters in Ohio, according to a survey released Sunday by Public Policy Polling. The 5-point lead in the Buckeye State is the president's largest in a PPP poll since early May.
But in North Carolina, where Democrats gathered last week to nominate Obama for a second term, a PPP survey out today shows the president and his GOP challenger are locked in a virtual tie, with Obama leading Romney, 49%-48%.
Obama is eager to keep North Carolina in his victory column this year, after becoming the first Democrat to carry the state since Jimmy Carter did in 1976.
Why didn't Obama get a bounce in North Carolina even though the Democratic convention was held in Charlotte?
"North Carolina voters have simply proven to be pretty intractable," PPP says in a news release. The Democratic-leaning company has polled in the state 25 times since 2010, and Obama and Romney have been within 3 percentage points of each other 24 times.
Ohio is a key state to watch, given no Republican has ever won the White House without also winning the Buckeye State. The Ohio poll shows Romney has a 46%-44% advantage among independent voters, but Obama is doing better overall because of his strength with the Democratic base.
"It's hard to see a path to victory for Mitt Romney without Ohio," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. "But Barack Obama's led in our polling there all year, and now his advantage is getting larger."