Hillary Clinton is still leading in Ohio ahead of the critical March 4 primary, but Barack Obama is catching up, writes the Los Angeles Times. Buckeye State Democrats now back Clinton over Obama 51% to 40%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll—compared with 55% to 34% less than two weeks ago. Another poll from the University of Cincinnati gives Clinton an even narrower advantage of 8 points—47% to 39%—ahead of tonight's debate in Cleveland.
Pollsters see an erosion in Clinton's core constituencies of women, seniors and voters with lower incomes and less education. A key issue is the candidates' views of NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, which Ohio voters blame for job losses. Both candidates have supported trade agreements in the past but are now pointing out their concerns about NAFTA. The Democratic rivals are in a dead heat in Texas.