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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Herald Fla poll shocker: Mitt Romney 51%, Barack Obama 44%

11

October

Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance last week has dramatically altered the presidential race in Florida, with Mitt Romney opening up a decisive 7 percentage point lead, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll.

The survey conducted this week found 51 percent of likely Florida voters supporting Romney, 44 percent backing Obama and 4 percent undecided. That's a major shift from a month ago when the same poll showed Obama leading 48 percent to 47 percent — and a direct result of what Obama himself called a "bad night" at the first debate.

The debate prompted 5 percent of previously undecided voters and 2 percent of Obama backers to move to Romney. Another 2 percent of Obama supporters said they are now undecided because of the debate.

"There's no question in my mind that debate made people stand up and pay attention, and it really wiped away any questions people had about Romney, whether they were undecided or soft for Obama," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll for the Times and its media partners.

Across the board, from who is better suited to improve the economy, to who will protect Medicare, to looking out for the middle-class, to handling foreign policy, likely Florida voters now favor the former Massachusetts governor over the president.

"It's a very big shift since the debate, and where the shifts are taking place are very, very interesting because they are the types of shifts you see in Florida when something starts to break one way or another," said Coker, likening it to when Ronald Reagan shot past Jimmy Carter in 1980.

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[Last modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 7:49pm]

    

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