President Obama has cracked 50 percent and is leading presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in a trio of key swing states, according to new polling.
The CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University polls show Obama ahead of Romney in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, all by at least six points. Obama is up in Florida 51 percent to 45 percent; in Ohio 50 percent to 44 percent; and in Pennsylvania by double digits — 53 percent to 42 percent .
The polls show a wider gap than most recent polling in these states, two of which — Florida and Ohio — have long been the most crucial electoral vote prizes in the country.
Obama’s favorable rating is above 50 percent in all three states, while Romney’s unfavorable rating is higher than his favorable rating in all three.
Perhaps most revealing is a question about whether the candidates “understand the needs and problems of people like you.” In all three states, Obama cracks 50 percent, and in all three states, voters say by a significant margin that they do not feel that way about Romney.
The two men are neck-and-neck in all three states when it comes to who people trust more to handle the economy. That’s because, despite the continued economic hard times, a majority of people in each state either think Obama has made things better or that he would do so if given a second term.
In all three states, significantly more Democrats than Republicans were surveyed, which Republicans contend skews the results.
In Florida, for example, 6 percent more Democrats than Republicans were surveyed, even though exit polls there in 2008 showed just a 3 percent Democratic advantage and exit polls in 2010 were dead even on party ID. In the other two states, the party breakdown leans more toward 2008 — a very good Democratic year — than 2010, which was a very good GOP year.
The samples also skewed more heavily toward Obama than these states did in 2008. In each state, those sampled say they voted for Obama by double digits in 2008, whereas the president won Florida by just 3 percent and Ohio by 5 percent.
Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown told The Fix that the poll doesn’t weight for party ID.