New poll shows Romney, Obama appear tied in Ohio

A late surge by Mitt Romney has made the contest between him and President Obama to win Ohio too close to call, according to a poll released Sunday.

Romney and Obama appear tied at 49 percent among likely voters, according to an Ohio News Organization poll. The margin of error in the poll is 3.1 percentage points.

The biggest movement since the group’s poll in September is Romney's lead with male voters -- from 1 percentage point to 12 points.

The president held 51 percent of the vote in the September poll.

“Momentum is on our side,” Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Energy and enthusiasm is on our side.”

Portman, who played Obama in Romney’s debate practices, said the margin has closed since the first date, on Oct. 3,  which most people say Romney decisively won.

Stephanie Cutter, Obama deputy campaign manager, said downplayed the poll findings.

"That's just one poll," she said on ABC's "This Week." "We feel pretty good about Ohio and think we're going to win it."

With 27 electoral votes, Ohio is considered the most crucial of battleground states. And both candidates are flooding the airwaves there with ads and are campaigning furiously.

Romney’s support also grew among high school and college graduates, according to the poll.

The poll essentially reinforces findings in other, recent polls that show the race is extremely close.

An Oct. 23,  Rasmussen poll showed the candidates tied at 48 percent. And a CNN poll released Friday showed 50 percent of likely Ohio voters for Obama.

An averaging of polls Sunday by the website RealClearPolitics has Obama leading by 1.9 percent.

The Ohio newspaper poll used landlines and cellphones to reach 1,015 likely voters across the state from Oct. 18 through 23.