New Polls Give Obama Lead in Three Key Swing States

It's still the economy that will be the deciding factor.

Posted: 08/01/2012 11:32 AM EDT
Barack Obama

In the topsy-turvy world of political polling, President Obama is having a good day. New polls from Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS News released Aug. 1 gives him the lead over Mitt Romney in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. The president carried the three states in 2008, but as every poll watcher knows, next week may be a very different story, especially after the July jobs report is released on Friday.

From the start, Romney has largely relied on his experience at Bain Capital as the primary example of why he should win the November election but once it became a two-man race between him and the president, Obama's re-election campaign has sought to use that experience as one of the primary reasons the Republican should lose. The president has aired several ads in the three states that aim to define his rival as an insensitive corporate raider and it may be working. The Times reported that a majority of voters "say [Romney's] experience was too focused on making profits [than] the kind of experience that would help create jobs."

That is not to say that voters have suddenly decided that their view of how Obama's handling of the economy has dramatically changed. But in Ohio and Pennsylvania, 46 and 48 percent of respondents, respectively, said that Obama would do a better job fixing it, while in Florida 47 percent chose Romney.

"All this matters because half of all likely voters say the economy is the most important issue to their vote, far ahead of any other issue," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement issued with the poll results. "The saving grace for [Romney] is that he roughly breaks even with the president on who is best on the economy."

One area in which Obama does have an undeniable edge is in enthusiasm. The polls found that in Ohio, 65 percent of his supporters say they "strongly favor" him, compared to 49 percent of those who back Romney. In Ohio, 60 percent strongly support Obama and 59 percent in Pennsylvania, while just 42 and 41 percent, respectively, of Romney's supporters said the same of him.

Citing unemployment rates in Ohio and Florida that are better than the national average, contributing factors in the president's lead, Brown said that if the election were held today, Obama would "sweep the key swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and — if history is any guide — into a second term in the Oval Office."


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(Photo: DAVID MAXWELL/EPA /Landov)

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