CINCINNATI — Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will make their first Ohio joint appearance in a Saturday morning rally, visiting the critical battleground state ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention.
The campaign said Thursday they will be at the Village Green Park in Powell, in central Ohio.
Romney last came to Ohio on a bus tour Aug. 14, three days after announcing the Wisconsin congressman as his running mate. Ryan also campaigned separately last week in Ohio, visiting his alma mater Miami University in Oxford and Walsh University in North Canton.
Their campaign is offering a “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to personally join Romney and Ryan on the road in Ohio, asking a $3 donation for a chance to win.
Two polls released Thursday gave different views of how the presidential and U.S. Senate races are going in the state.
One indicated the addition of Ryan hasn’t moved Ohio voters. The poll by Quinnipiac University, CBS News and The New York Times showed President Barack Obama holding steady with a 50-44 percent lead in the state, with a 2.8 percent plus-or-minus margin of error. The random telephone survey of 1,253 likely voters was conducted Aug. 15-21.
Romney passed over Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman among other contenders to be his running mate. Ohio voters surveyed showed the majority — 56 percent — said the Ryan choice made no difference in their voting plans. It also showed 32 percent had a favorable opinion of Ryan, 27 percent were unfavorable, and 40 percent hadn’t heard enough about him.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Poll released Thursday found the presidential race a virtual toss-up, with Obama’s 49-46 lead within the margin of error. The poll’s questions focused on issues, with the economy by far the No. 1 issue for most voters — 51 percent in the survey, with 14 percent citing health care or health insurance. Those surveyed said Romney would do a better job than Obama on the economy, by a 49-42 percent result.
That poll sponsored by the University of Cincinnati also showed a close race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and GOP challenger Josh Mandel, the state treasurer. It was also within the margin of error, at 48-47 percent for Brown. The Quinnipiac poll showed Brown leading 48-41 among those surveyed.
The Ohio Poll was conducted by phone Aug. 16-21 with a random sample of 847 likely voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.
Obama campaigned Tuesday in Columbus, stopping by Ohio State University and then Capital University. Underlining the importance of Ohio, Obama had kicked off his re-election campaign with a May 5 rally at Ohio State. The Democrat won Ohio in 2008, after George W. Bush twice carried the state.
No Republican has won a presidential election without Ohio.