A new, major poll — the latest in a parade of see-saw polls this campaign season — finds President Barack Obama has hit the “magic” 50 percent mark in several key swing states:
President Barack Obama hits the magic 50 percent mark against Gov. Mitt Romney among likely voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with wide support for his plan to hike federal income taxes on upper-income voters, according to a Quinnipiac University/ CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll released today.
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This is the first measure of likely voters in these swing states and cannot be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters. Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states – no one has won the White House since 1960 without taking at least two of them – shows:
Florida: Obama edges Romney 51- 45 percent; Ohio: Obama over Romney by a slim 50 – 44 percent; Pennsylvania: Obama tops Romney 53 – 42 percent.
Support for President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year is 58 – 37 percent in Florida, 60 – 37 percent in Ohio and 62 – 34 percent in Pennsylvania, the survey by Quinnipiac/CBS/The Times finds.
“If today were November 6, President Barack 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,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The president is running better in the key swing states than he is nationally. Part of the reason may be that the unemployment rate in Ohio is well below the national average. In Florida it has been dropping over the past year, while nationally that has not been the case.”
But there is a silver lining for 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. The saving grace for Gov. Mitt Romney is that he roughly breaks even with the president on who is best on the economy,” Brown added.
And a big storm cloud for Romney:
“The president’s strength among women is the dominant dynamic fueling his lead. It is this dynamic that argues for Romney to pick a female running mate. On the other hand, the president’s lead in Ohio and Florida also argues for the selection by Romney of Sen. Rob Portman or Sen. Marco Rubio since he can’t win the White House without the Buckeye and Sunshine states and presumably these home state senators would be the most helpful.”
One assumption here: does it stand to reason that if Mitt Romney picks a woman that will mean he suddenly is in a stronger position?
Didn’t someone named John McCain once try that? American society may be at a point where — truly — a candidate’s ideas, qualifications and personality are more important than gender.
More good (for now) polling news for Obama:
President Barack Obama appears to be back in front in Michigan.
On Tuesday, Lansing-based EPIC-MRA released exclusively to the Free Press and four TV stations a poll of 600 likely voters showing the Democrat, Obama, leading presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney 48%-42%. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The results of the survey conducted July 24-31 are part of a recent trend of polls showing Obama opening up a lead over Romney in Michigan, even though groups supporting the Republican candidate have been hammering away at the president in expensive TV campaigns in the state.
Still, keep in mind that what’s important is general poll trending. And Pollster’s chart compressing a variety of polls shows Obama fairly leveled out with Romney on the rise:
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Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.