U.S. President Barack Obama has a growing lead in two battleground
states that could determine the outcome of the November election,
according to a new survey of voters in Florida and Ohio. The polling
trend puts additional pressure on Republican challenger Mitt Romney to
perform strongly during next month's presidential debates.
A new Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters has President Obama
leading former governor Mitt Romney by nine points in Florida, 53-to-44
percent, and 10 points in Ohio, 53-to-43 percent. A month ago,
Quinnipiac had the president leading by just three points in Florida and
six points in Ohio.
"For the first time since the campaign began, voters now see Barack
Obama as better able to handle the economy than Mitt Romney," said
Quinnipiac Polling director Peter Brown.
Other recent polls also show the president leading in Florida and Ohio,
but by smaller margins.
Brown notes the Quinnipiac survey was conducted in the wake of a video
surfacing of Romney telling campaign contributors 47 percent of
Americans pay no federal income taxes and prefer government dependency
over personal responsibility.
"This poll was taken last week when there was a media fury going on
about Romney's comments about 47 percent of the electorate," Brown
added. "It would be naïve not to think that had some impact on this."
If Mitt Romney is worried about the polling trend, he gave no indication
of it at a campaign event Wednesday in Ohio.
"I do not believe we can afford four more years like the last four
years," Romney said. "And I believe that after the debates and after the
campaigns and all the ads are over, the people of Ohio are going to say
loud and clear on November 6 [that] we cannot afford four more years, we
must do better."
Later in the day, President Obama also campaigned in the state, where he
promised to build on recent gains in American manufacturing.
"We can create one million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years
with the right policies," Obama said. "That is what I am fighting for,
that is why I am running for a second term as president. That is what is
going to be important to Ohio."
Pollster Peter Brown stresses that polling data in September provide no
guarantees of November election results.
"Certainly this can change," Brown explained. "You have got more than 30
days left and three high-profile debates. So it would be foolish to
write this campaign off."
so, Brown says the polling numbers are an ominous sign for Romney, who
is widely assumed to need to win most battleground states in order to be
victorious on Election Day. Mathematically, he says, the president's
path to a second term in office is looking considerably easier.
"If he [Obama] could win one or two of these big swing states, Florida
or Ohio for instance, there is just not any rational way to see how
Romney wins [the election]," Brown noted. "That is why today's numbers
are so good for the president. He is up nine in Florida, 10 in Ohio. If
he wins both of those states, he is virtually assured of re-election."
President Obama faces Governor Romney on October 3, in the first of
three nationally-televised presidential debates. The events may be the
last best chances for Romney to swing public opinion in battleground
states and beyond.