Overall, among likely voters in the new poll, 51 percent said they would support Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, if the election were held today, while 45 percent said they would back McCain and the GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Ohio voters see McCain as more capable of dealing with Iraq and terrorism, but those issues are far less important this year. Just 9 percent of voters call them their top voting issues.
About two in 10 voters are "movable," nearly double the proportion who were uncommitted two weeks before the 2004 election, suggesting the possibility of some significant shifts in the weeks ahead.
Beyond that, Obama holds a 2 to 1 advantage over McCain as the candidate most likely to bring needed change to Washington.
There are indications from the survey that Obama also may have an early advantage in mobilizing and turning out Ohio voters over the next month. He has more enthusiastic supporters than McCain does and has reached more voters in Ohio than his rival.
Nearly four in 10 voters (38 percent) said they have already been contacted by someone from the Obama campaign either by phone or in person. That is 12 points higher than the number who said they have heard from the McCain campaign. It also is higher than the number who said they had been called or visited by either the campaigns of President Bush or Democrat John F. Kerry in mid-October four years ago.
Including email and text messages from the campaigns this year, the Obama campaign has contacted 43 percent of all voters and the McCain campaign has been in touch with 33 percent. Both sides have been successful at reaching out to the party faithful, but Obama has done somewhat better in targeting independents.
I find it incredible that only nine percent of voters rank terrorism and the war in Iraq as their top issues. That's so dramatic a change from 2004 that it's difficult to believe, and it's a testament to the dramatic impact the steady drumbeat of bad news about the economy has had on the race.