Poll: Obama Widens Lead in Pennsylvania — and Nationally Over Romney on the Economy
President Barack Obama’s lead has increased in Pennsylvania -- just as he enjoys a “bump” in New Jersey. But this come against the context of two key questions: (1)will this bump last (they don’t usually)? and (2) will events in the Middle East impact the numbers of Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney the greatest?
President Obama, already ahead in Pennsylvania, received a small bump from the Democratic National Convention and now leads Mitt Romney in the state by 11 points, according to the Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll.
But with eight weeks left before the Nov. 6 election, with debates yet to be held, and with foreign affairs suddenly atop the national agenda, it’s early to concede the state to Obama, a bipartisan team of Inquirer pollsters said.
“I’m not 100 percent prepared to say Pennsylvania is not in play,” said Adam Geller, of National Research Inc., a Republican firm.
Jeffrey Plaut, of Global Research Strategies, Geller’s Democratic partner in the Inquirer poll, put it this way: “Is Pennsylvania done? Put a fork in it? I would say not yet.”
The Romney camp clearly has signaled doubts about Pennsylvania by slashing TV ads and candidate appearances. Obama, too, has cut back, and the state lags behind Ohio, Florida, and other swing states as targets for the most intensive campaigning.
The Inquirer survey of 600 likely voters, conducted Sept. 9-12, found that 50 percent would vote for Obama if the election were held today, and 39 percent would vote for Romney.
Obama’s lead was up from the 9 points found in the first Inquirer poll, Aug. 21-23, in which he led, 51-42. Poll results included voters who were leaning toward a candidate. Both surveys had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Obama edge stands where it was when the 2008 campaign ended. Obama beat John McCain, the GOP nominee that year, by 111/2 points.
A companion Inquirer New Jersey Poll, also taken Sept. 9-12, showed Obama ahead by 14 points, 51-37.
The president’s current standing is largely built on his overwhelming backing in the Philadelphia television market, home to more than 40 percent of the state’s voters. That offsets support for Romney in the more conservative Pittsburgh market and some other areas.
Statewide, Obama was ahead among all age groups, among both men and women, among those with college education and those without.
He was marginally ahead among white voters, 46-43, and overwhelmingly ahead among black voters, 93-3.
In this highly polarized election, a new The New York Times and CBS News poll has noted another shift: Obama has erased (for now) Romney’s advantage over him on the economy:
President Obama has taken away Mitt Romney’s longstanding advantage as the candidate voters say is most likely to restore the economy and create jobs, according to the latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News, which found a modest sense of optimism among Americans that White House policies are working.
But while the climate for Mr. Obama has improved since midsummer, and Mr. Romney has failed to shift sentiment decisively in his favor, the poll found that the presidential race is narrowly divided. The outcome could still turn on unexpected events and how the candidates are perceived after their three debates next month.
With their conventions behind them and the general election campaign fully engaged, the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably than the Republican Party. The poll also found that more likely voters give an edge to Mr. Obama on foreign policy, Medicare and addressing the challenges of the middle class. The only major issue on which Mr. Romney held an advantage was handling the federal budget deficit.
The nationwide poll was conducted during a turbulent week in the campaign, with a new torrent of television ads from Mr. Romney, a disappointing jobs report for Mr. Obama and both candidates reacting to deadly violence in Egypt, Libya and across the Arab world.
Among those considered most likely to vote, the president was the choice of 49 percent to 46 percent for Mr. Romney, including those who said they were leaning in one direction or another. It is within the survey’s margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for each candidate.
The president holds a 10-point advantage on who would do a better job handling foreign policy, with 4 in 10 voters very confident of Mr. Obama’s ability to handle an international crisis, compared with about one-quarter who say the same about Mr. Romney. The survey was largely conducted before foreign affairs took on heightened importance when the United States ambassador to Libya and three other Americans there were killed on Tuesday.
While the poll reflects a prevailing sentiment among Mr. Romney’s advisers that he must find a way to change the dynamics of the race, the findings also highlight a lingering discontent running through the electorate.
New presidential election polls out today, including a New York Times/CBS News poll, don’t resolve the uncertainty of this race, which remains too close to call. But they do provide insight into how some of the big issues in the campaign have been playing – the economy, women’s rights, and Medicare.
Two out of three so far seem to be going in President Obama’s favor.
Republicans are not getting a lot of traction on the economy – or more precisely, they’re not getting a lot of traction on their contentions that Mr. Obama has ruined the economy, or that Americans are worse off than they were four years ago.
The Times/CBS poll found that a majority of Americans think the U.S. is either better off or the same as it was four years ago. That’s actually pretty remarkable given the depth of the financial crisis.
….Mr. Obama also beats Mr. Romney in every income category except those making over $100,000, and every age group except probable voters over 65, which brings me to Medicare.
Ever since Mr. Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, Democrats have been pointing out that Mr. Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system, which would increase costs for seniors. Based on the latest numbers, I have to conclude that older voters are either not paying attention, or assume that all the talk about cutting Medicare is just bluff and neither party is really going to touch it. They might be onto something.
The race is indeed still too close to call — and the debates linger. Analysts are split on whether debates matter or not. But the one certainty is: Romney needs to do something to change the dynamics of the race. And just going more negative about what he hates about Obama won’t do it. He needs to offer c-o-n-t-e-n-t.