CLEVELAND — President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were deadlocked with 49 percent each in a new Ohio poll published Sunday in the swing state.
The poll published by Ohio’s biggest newspapers was conducted among 1,015 likely voters who were reached by land line telephones and cellphones between Oct. 18 and Oct. 23. Some were called before the final presidential debate Oct. 22.
The Ohio Newspaper Poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The importance of Ohio to both campaigns has been highlighted by almost non-stop tag-team stumping by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Romney and his GOP running mate Paul Ryan.
All four have campaigned in Ohio since last week’s final debate and Romney joined Ryan on Sunday for the second day of a cross-state bus swing.
Obama plans to return to Ohio on Monday with an appearance in Democratic stronghold Youngstown with former President Bill Clinton.
“Absent any more twists and turns, a remarkable presidential campaign may end with the campaign that executes the best ground game, narrowly delivering Ohio for the next president of the United States,” said Eric Rademacher, co-director of the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research.
The latest polling (bit.ly/Skidpk) showed Romney tightening or closing the lead that Obama had coming out of the Democratic convention. In the previous Ohio Newspaper Poll, released Sept. 23, Obama had a 5-point lead.
A majority in the new Ohio Newspaper Poll, 62 percent, said that the debates would not make a difference in their vote, while 23 percent said the presidential debates would make them more likely to vote for Romney.
Nearly one-fifth of respondents indicated they had already voted.
Other Ohio Newspaper Poll findings:
— Fifty percent of voters said Obama would do the best job handling foreign policy, compared with 46 percent for Romney.
— Fifty-one percent said Romney would do the best job handling the economy, compared with 45 percent for Obama.