Barack Obama boasts a comfortable lead in the ultimate bellwether state -- Ohio -- while he and Republican rival John McCain are statistically tied in the swing state of Missouri, according to a new poll released today.
Obama leads in Ohio 51 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, while McCain has 45 percent and Obama 44 percent among likely voters in Missouri, according to the poll conducted by Suffolk University's political research center in Boston.
"If Ohio goes for Obama, it could be the tipping point that will usher him into the White House,” David Paleologos, the research center's director, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Republican ticket's emphasis on Joe the plumber -- the Ohio man who challenged Obama on his tax plan and who McCain and running mate Sarah Palin are trying to turn into a symbol -- is not paying huge dividends, according to the poll.
While 68 percent of Ohio respondents said they recognized Joe the plumber, only 6 percent said that Joe's story will make them more likely to vote for McCain. An additional 4 percent said the tale made them more likely to vote for Obama; and 85 percent were not affected. In Missouri, where 80 percent had heard of the plumber, 8 percent said they were more likely to vote McCain, 3 percent more likely to vote Obama, and 86 percent said they were not affected by his story.
The Ohio poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, and the Missouri survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, and both have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.