Fla Q Poll: Obama 51%, Romney 45%
New York Times: President Obama is struggling to persuade voters that he deserves to win re-election based on his handling of the economy, but his empathy and personal appeal give him an edge over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls.
The contours of a deeply competitive presidential race, with three months remaining until the election, are highlighted in the new surveys of likely voters in the three battleground states. Mr. Romney drew fairly even with Mr. Obama when voters were asked about managing the nation’s financial situation, but his candidacy remains tested by concerns over his business background and his reluctance to release more of his tax returns.
The polls in the three states, all of which Mr. Obama carried in 2008, offer a window into challenges and opportunities for both candidates as August begins and they prepare for their nominating conventions and the general election fight. Most paths to victory that the campaigns are pursuing include winning at least two of the states.
While independent voters break strongly for Mr. Obama in Pennsylvania, a state that Mr. Romney has been trying to make more competitive, they are closely split in Florida and Ohio. Of the coalition that Mr. Obama built to win the White House, independent voters remain a hurdle, with a little more than half in Florida and Ohio saying they disapprove of his job performance.
But a torrent of television advertising in the states, particularly in Ohio and Florida, appears to be resonating in Mr. Obama’s quest to define his Republican rival. The polls found that more voters say Mr. Romney’s experience was too focused on making profits at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he led, rather than the kind of experience that would help create jobs.
A snapshot of the race, taken during a burst of summer campaigning, found that Mr. Obama holds an advantage of 6 percentage points over Mr. Romney in Florida and Ohio. The president is stronger in Pennsylvania, leading by 11 percentage points. The margin of sampling of error is plus or minus three percentage points in each state.
The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac and CBS News, is tracking the presidential contest in six states through polls over the next three months. In addition to Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, which have a combined 67 electoral votes, surveys will be taken in Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia, which have 32 electoral votes.
NOTE: Several readers have pointed out that the sample clearly skews Democratic. Quinnipiac doesn't weight its polls based on likely turnout by party, but instead simply asks people what party they generally consider themselves. In this poll, the sample is 27 percent self-identified Republican, 36 percent Democrat, and 32 percent independent.
There is virtually no scenario where the electorate in November reflects a nine point advantage for Democrats over Republicans or five point advantage for independents over Republicans