From CNN:

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday [10/26], President Barack Obama holds a four point advantage over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the contest for Ohio’s much fought over 18 electoral votes.

Fifty-percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they are backing the president, with 46% supporting the former Massachusetts governor. Obama’s four point advantage is within the survey’s sampling error. The survey was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, entirely after Monday’s final presidential debate.

“The race in the Buckeye State is essentially unchanged since early October, when a CNN/ORC poll taken just after the first presidential debate also showed President Obama with a four-point margin over Governor Romney,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

[More from CNN]

The new poll indicates that Obama has a double digit lead among those who have already voted absentee or early ballot or plan to do so before Election Day, with Romney holding the edge among people who plan to cast their ballot on November 6.

According to the survey, the gender gap has tightened a bit, but the basic storyline remains the same. Obama holds a 56%-42% advantage among female voters, with the GOP challenger up 50%-44% among men.

“In other major demographic groups, the movement since early October has been in the expected direction, with Obama picking up ground among younger voters, lower-income voters and urban voters and losing support among older voters, suburbanites, and higher-income voters,” adds Holland. “Looking at age, for example, Obama has gained three points among voters under 50 years old since early October, but lost three points among voters who are 50 and older.”

The poll indicates Obama maintains a small but critical advantage among independent voters. In early October, he had a 50%-46% margin among independents — virtually identical to the 49%-44% edge he has today.

Romney’s problem is apparent from the data: He hasn’t been able to cut into Obama’s lead in the Buckeye state. As consequential as the Denver debate appeared to be at the time, CNN’s indicates that Obama’s margin remains unchanged since the first debate. Some pundits have argued that most voters, in this polarized electorate, long ago made up their minds as to how they were going to vote, and few have changed their minds.

Those who find it difficult to believe that Obama is ahead might reflect that very few presidents who run for a second term lose. In the modern (post-1900) era, the only presidents who sought and failed to win reelection were William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.