President Obama is building leads against Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Florida and Ohio, and is down slightly in Pennsylvania but still ahead, according to a new swing-state poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Mr. Obama tops Mr. Romney by four percentage points in Florida (45 to 41 percent), nine percentage points in Ohio (47 to 38 percent), and six percentage points in Pennsylvania (45 to 39 percent). That represents a boost in two of the three states from May 3, when Quinnipiac found the Obama-Romney matchup too close to call in Florida and Ohio. Obama had an eight-point lead in Pennsylvania in May.
Since 1960, no one has won the White House without winning two of those three states.
“The president’s overall margin is built on his big lead among women, younger voters, and African-Americans,” writes Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Hamden, Conn. “In Florida, on the heels of the president’s order that will prevent the deportation of some younger illegal immigrants, he holds a big lead among Hispanic voters.”
“The horse race numbers reflect the general view of voters that they like the president better,” Mr. Brown continues. “Obama has a net favorable view among Ohio voters and he is viewed evenly by those in Pennsylvania and Florida, while Romney’s favorable/unfavorable ratio is negative in all three states.”
Despite Obama’s lead in those three states, the polling suggests the race for president is still up for grabs. Obama is below 50 percent in all three against Romney. As the incumbent, he is presumed to have a smaller upside compared with Romney, who is still not well known to many voters.
But for now, at least, the president appears to have helped himself politically with his move to help younger undocumented immigrants avoid deportation. In Florida, voters approved the June 15 announcement by 58 percent to 33 percent. In Ohio, the new policy gets 52 to 38 percent approval, and in Pennsylvania, it’s 51 to 41 percent.
On voters’ perceptions of who would do a better job on the economy, Obama and Romney are in a dead heat in Florida and Pennsylvania, and Obama is ahead 47 to 42 percent in Ohio.