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Ohio Poll shows John McCain leads Barack Obama slightly in battleground state

September 12, 2008 |  8:17 am

As it was in 2004, Ohio with its trove of 20 electoral votes once again could prove to be a key to the outcome of the presidential race.

A University of Cincinnati poll shows John McCain leading Barack Obama 48%-44%. However, nearly a fourth of Ohio’s voters say they have not completely decided how they will vote.

Eric W. Rademacher, co-director of the Ohio Poll, noted that more Democrats than Republicans currently say they intend to cross party lines by voting for McCain. The poll shows that 11% of Democratic likely voters plan to vote for McCain, while 5% of likely Republican voters intend to vote for Obama.

“You cannot treat these choices as final vote choices,” Rademacher said, noting that many Democrats and Republicans who say they are considering crossing party lines typically will return to their nominee.

The poll of 775 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 5 to Sept.10, after both the Democratic and Republican conventions. There was a margin of sampling error of 3.5%

The poll, conducted after McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, shows men were siding with McCain, 51%-41%, while women were narrowly backing Obama, 47%-45%. (See news video of McCain and Palin in Ohio below.)

Rademacher said Palin's selection is causing women to take a second look at McCain, but that it's too early to tell whether she'll draw female voters to the Republican ticket.

Voters ages 18-29 overwhelmingly backed Obama, 60%-33%. Voters 65 and older sided with McCain, 49%-40%.

In an Ohio Poll conducted in September four years ago, President Bush led John Kerry 54%-43%. Bush ended up winning the state by less than 120,000 votes out of 5.6 million cast.

--Dan Morain