Bloomberg News

Obama Leads Romney in Poll of Florida, Ohio and Virginia

September 14, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures after speaking during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sept. 6, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama continues to lead Republican rival Mitt Romney in post-convention opinion polls, with a CBS News/New York Times survey out today giving him a three-percentage-point advantage among likely voters.

Obama received 49 percent support in the poll taken Sept. 8-12, while Romney had 46 percent, a difference between the two within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Independents backed Romney, 50 percent to 44 percent, as did male voters by 52 percent to 44 percent. Obama led among women, 53 percent to 41 percent.

Obama has erased Romney’s advantage when voters are asked which candidate would do a better job handling the economy and creating jobs, the poll found. Obama leads Romney in that category 50 percent to 44 percent, whereas in previous CBS/New York Times polls Romney led by as much as 14 percentage points.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released yesterday of likely voters in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia showed Obama ahead in each race. Recent national polls by CNN and Gallup following last week’s Democratic National Convention also put Obama in the lead.

The NBC/Journal poll gave Obama a 49 percent to 44 percent edge over Romney in both Florida and Virginia, and a 50 percent to 43 percent edge in Ohio. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.

Democratic Convention

“We’re seeing the effects of the Democratic convention in these numbers and we’ll see whether” Obama is “able to sustain it,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York, which conducted the poll.

The three-state survey was released on the same day Romney campaigned in Virginia, criticizing Obama’s handling of the attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East, one of which led to the deaths of four Americans in Libya. “As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we are at the mercy of events instead of shaping events,” Romney said.

Likely voters in all three battleground states were polled Sept. 9-11, after the Democrats wrapped up their gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By 51 percent to 46 percent, likely voters in Florida said they had a favorable rather than an unfavorable impression of Obama. They also viewed Romney favorably by 47 percent to 45 percent, and said he would do a better job than Obama handling the economy by 47 percent to 46 percent.

Favorable Impression

In Ohio, 51 percent of likely voters had a favorable impression of Obama while 44 percent were unfavorable; Romney was viewed as unfavorable by 50 percent and favorable by 40 percent. They favored Obama over Romney on handling the economy by 48 percent to 44 percent.

Likely voters in Virginia had a favorable impression of Obama by 53 percent to 43 percent unfavorable, and a favorable impression of Romney by 46 percent to 45 percent. They split, 45 percent to 45 percent, on which candidate would better handle the economy,

Obama may have been boosted by an advertising campaign that he and his supporters waged during the conventions, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks advertising. The group found Obama’s re-election campaign and his allies ran 40,000 ads on broadcast television and national cable programming between Aug. 26 and Sept. 8, compared with 18,000 run by Romney and groups backing his candidacy.

Pro-Obama Advertisers

“During both the Democratic and Republican conventions, pro-Obama advertisers dominated the airwaves in numerous markets, including key swing states such as Colorado, Ohio, Nevada, and Virginia,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. “This advantage may help to explain why Obama’s ‘convention bounce’ was larger than Romney’s.”

The CBS/Times poll surveyed 1,162 likely voters. The NBC/Journal poll surveyed 980 likely voters in Florida, 979 in Ohio and 996 in Virginia, and all had margins of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net


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