As we sit back and enjoy the results of tonight’s Ohio GOP primary, we wanted to take a look at how the long primary process has affected Mitt Romney’s polling in Ohio and how it compares to President Obama. And we’re looking at two key demographic groups, women and independents, two voting blocks that will be essential for the ultimate winner. We looked at Quinnipiac polls dating back to January, 2011. All polls are available here.

First, how are the two candidates doing in a head to head match-up? Among women, Obama has been winning against Romney since Quinnipiac started asking the question last July. And among independents, Obama took the lead in January and his margin is widening:

Next, let’s look at Obama’s approval ratings in Ohio. Among both women and independents, the President’s approval is rebounding from taking a dip last fall. In fact, the President’s approval has only gone up since the GOP primary process began in early January.

Finally, with all the exposure that comes from the GOP primary process, what has that done to people’s opinions of the apparent challenger, Mitt Romney? Pollsters often ask voters whether they have favorable or unfavorable feelings about the candidate. The percentage of both women and independents in Ohio who have an unfavorable view of Mitt Romney is growing since the start of the primary season, another trend that must be of concern for the candidate as he seeks to introduce himself to general election voters. Meanwhile, the Presidents unfavorables are declining among both groups.

   

As you can see from the head to head matchup and his unfavorability ratings, the primary season is taking its toll on Mitt Romney in Ohio. But Obama is the real winner from tonight’s primary, based on his ability to win key demographic groups in the fall as well as his improving approval ratings and declining unfavorables.

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