A new Washington Post/ABC News poll (story here, full data here) has Obama opening up a 6-point lead over McCain in Ohio, a state that is a must win for Republicans. While voters still trust McCain more on handling terrorism and the war in Iraq, Obama now has a 13 point edge when it comes to handling the economy. If this were 2004, McCain would be in strong position — after all, Ohio exit polls last time around showed that a combined 30 percent of voters considered terrorism or Iraq their most important issue compared with 24 percent who cited the econmy/jobs. However, in the new Post/ABC poll, just 9 percent of Ohioans chose Iraq or terrorism, while 52 percent identified “economy/jobs” as their most important issue. Also, in 2004, the much-discussed moral values issues were the most important to 23 percent of the Ohio electorate, and Bush dominated among the group. In the Post/ABC poll, however, moral/family values were named by just 1 percent of participants. If you define the term more broadly to include ethics/honesty/corruption in government and abortion, that gets you up to a total of 8 percent for values-related issues. The bottom line, as I mentioned last week, is that the presidential campaign has largely been overtaken by events. The economy is now the issue and the Democratic candidate has a built in advantage because an unpopular Republican has been in the White House for eight years. It’s difficult to see what McCain can do to change these basic dynamics.
UPDATE: I will note that the CNN/Time poll has the race in Ohio tighter, with Obama up 3 points, and a Fox News/Rasmussen poll has McCain up by 1. Overall, the RCP average has Obama up by 3.8.