The Washington Times - October 22, 2012, 07:16AM

President Obama leads by 5 points, 50 percent to 45 percent, in a Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll released Monday, but Republican Mitt Romney carved into President Obama’s 10-point advantage in the all-important state of Ohio he held last month.

A gender gap seen throughout the election cycle persists in the new poll: Mr. Obama leads by 15 points among women, 55 percent to 40 percent, while Mr. Romney leads by 7 points among men, at 51 percent to 44 percent. Mr. Obama’s advantage among women is down from a staggering 60 percent to 35 percent margin last month, however, while Mr. Romney’s support among men has remained relatively constant.

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A strong plurality of likely voters felt Mr. Obama won the second presidential debate held in New York last week, 48 percent to 27 percent. However, nearly two-thirds say the debate will have no effect on their vote.

Mr. Obama enjoys a 15-point advantage among the 20 percent of voters who have already cast their ballots, at 54 percent to 39 percent. For likely voters who have not yet cast their ballots, the lead for Mr. Obama is 2 points, at 49 percent to 47 percent.

More voters say Mr. Obama cares about their needs and problems — 60 percent to 37 percent — compared to Mr. Romney, where 45 percent of likely voters say he does and 50 percent of voters say he does not. Mr. Romney, however, holds a larger advantage on which candidate has strong qualities of leadership. Sixty-four percent of voters say he does, compared to 58 percent for Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama holds a 50 percent to 43 percent lead on the issue of foreign policy — the topic of Monday night’s debate — down from a 54 percent to 41 percent advantage in September. Mr. Romney has pulled even with Mr. Obama on the all-important question of who would do a better job handling the economy after trailing by 6 points last month.

However, 54 percent of voters say Mr. Obama would do a better job helping the middle class, compared to 41 percent for Mr. Romney.

The party breakdown for the poll is 26 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 34 percent independent. The poll of 1,548 likely voters was conducted Oct. 17-20, and the margin of error is 3 percentage points.