Tampa Bay Times Fla poll: Barack Obama 48%, Mitt Romney 47%
It's Florida, after all, so what would you expect?
After a constant stream of Sunshine State visits by President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, after many millions spent on TV ads, and even after a Republican National Convention in Tampa, Obama and Romney are essentially tied in America's ultimate battleground state.
A new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll finds 48 percent of likely Florida voters backing Obama, 47 percent supporting Romney, 1 percent with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and just 4 percent undecided.
"It's still very much a toss-up. It's a turnout game," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research.
The needle has barely budged since the last Times/Herald/Bay News 9 poll in July showed Obama leading 46 percent to 45 percent, though Obama's lead with independents grew 6 percentage points while the number of undecided voters dropped 3 points.
The good news for Romney? Fifty-two percent of Florida voters say the country is heading in the wrong direction and only 43 percent say it's on the right track.
What's more, Romney's recent spate of negative publicity, including the release of a secret recording of him suggesting that the 47 percent of voters backing Obama are dependent on government and view themselves as victims, appears to have done little or no damage to the Republican nominee in Florida.
"We've had this swirl of coverage over the last couple of weeks, and it doesn't seem to have made a real impact with average voters," said Coker, who led the poll last week just as Romney's 47 percent comment dominated the news. "The talking class and the analysts, and the inside the beltway bubble people all think this stuff is big and important, and the voters don't think it's all that important.