A new Quinnipiac University Poll in Florida reflects two overall trends: Romney is starting to pull ahead or gaining on Barack Obama in many polls and independent voters are moving towards Romney. It’s early in campaign 2012 but, nonetheless, in terms of negative political news, party cohesiveness and polling Romney and the GOP seem to be on the upswing and Obama and the Democrats on the defensive. The poll:
Mitt Romney has broken into a slight lead in Florida over President Barack Obama, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
The former Massachusetts governor leads Obama by a 47-41 margin. A May 3 survey showed the two tied at 44-43, and Obama led by a 49-42 margin in a March 28 poll. Other recent polls had shown the two tied or Obama with a slight lead.
Obama won Florida in 2008 by 2.8 percent of the vote. The state swung Republican in 2010, with Republicans winning all statewide offices and picking up four U.S. House seats. Democrats are hoping for a 2008-like turnout to put Obama over the top in the perennial swing state.
Romney leads with independent voters by a 44-36 margin, with men by a 50-37 margin and with whites by a 56-33 margin, according to the poll. Women favor Obama by a 45-44 edge, but blacks favor him by an 85-3 margin and Hispanics by a slim 42-40 edge.
While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been touted as a vice-presidential candidate to help put Florida squarely in the GOP column, Romney’s lead only increased to 49-41 when Rubio’s name was added to the poll.
Some analysts believe Rubio carries some baggage that will not help Romney. This poll showing that it won’t make much difference in Florida if he’s on the ticket removes what some felt was one of his key positives. And it’s worth repeating what First Read says about the polls overall:
“Despite a volatile and eventful past few weeks in the early presidential contest, President Barack Obama continues to hold a small – and slightly narrowing – lead over Mitt Romney… But given the public’s pessimism about the economy and the direction of the country, Romney finds himself well within striking distance in an election that has the potential to be as close as the 2004 race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry.”
A long campaign is often like a see saw, but at this particular point one thing is evident: Mitt Romney is on the ascent and Barack Obama is playing defense.
But, as First Read also warns us, the game is far from over and Obama’s polling numbers (pointing to other polls not the Florida one which is more narrow) mean he could still win:
*** Are these re-electable numbers for Obama? The answer to that question is yes. Just look at our May 2004 NBC/WSJ poll. Back then, George W. Bush’s economic handling was 41% (Obama’s is 43%); 33% said the nation is headed in the right direction (identical to now); Bush’s overall approval rating was 47% (Obama’s in our new poll is 48%); and Bush was leading John Kerry in the presidential ballot by three points. 48%-45% (Obama is leading Romney in our poll by four, 47%-43%). So despite these numbers, Obama can win re-election, but it’s no cakewalk. “Obama’s chances for re-election … are no better than 50-50,” says NBC/WSJ co-pollster Peter Hart (D). “It tells you this is a dead-even race.”