President Barack Obama leads Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the three vital swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a new Quinnipac poll released Wednesday says.
Every president ever elected has won at least two of these three states in the general election, making this poll a closely watched forecast of a possible outcome in November.
"President Barack Obama has decent margins over Gov. Mitt Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania and a smaller advantage in Florida," Peter A. Brown, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in a press release. "If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through election day he would be virtually assured of re-election."
"Of course the election is more than four months away, which is a lifetime in politics," he added. The poll surveyed around 1,200 voters in the three states between June 19-25 of this year on their views of the two men's economic and immigration policies as well as overall impression.
In the three states, Hispanics, African Americans and women are skewed heavily on the side of the president while Romney is favored among whites and men. Although the president also leads on immigration policy, the states are split on who would best handle the economy.
In Florida, always a hotly contested state, voters skewed on the side of the president, but only slightly. Obama lead Romney 45 to 41 percent among those polled, with 56 percent of Hispanics, 85 percent of African Americans and 47 percent of women saying they would vote to re-elect the president.
Although slightly more Floridians say Romney would do a better job on the economy (46 versus 44 percent), the overall approval rating of the president is much higher, at 47 percent versus Romney's 37.
This might be due to the president's recent change in immigration policy to allow younger illegal immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation, what some people are calling Obama's "mini DREAM Act." In Florida, 58 percent say they would support the change in policy and 46 percent said the president would do better on immigration policy.
Voters in Pennsylvania, although they prefer the president to Romney at 45 to 39 percent, are split on specific issues. Specifically, those polled split exactly even on who would handle economy better, with 44 percent favoring each man.
Additionally, the president's overall job performance approval rating is in the negative here, at 45 percent approving to 49 disapproving. A higher percentage, 47 percent, believe he should not be re-elected than those who do at 45 percent.
But, the race in Ohio is much more firmly in President Obama's hands. Overall, 47 percent favor Obama over Romney at 38 percent. The president's overall approval rating is also much higher than Romney's, at 50 percent versus 32 percent.
Although here too the voters are almost split on whether he should be re-elected, they agree Obama would do better handling the economy than Romney, at 47 versus 42 percent. A majority also favor his new immigration policy change.
However, a specific number to watch is independent voters in the three states. The president leads among independent voters in Florida and Ohio but not in Pennsylvania. In fact, his lead in Ohio "is largely due to his lead among independent voters, the group that usually decides Ohio elections," Brown said.
If the president can increase his favorability among independent voters in Pennsylvania and widen the margin among this voting bloc in the other two states, he will have a much better chance at taking all three states and then the general election.
by RTT Staff Writer
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