Candidates are gearing up for a heated race in Florida, with President Barack Obama edging past GOP candidate Mitt Romney 47 to 44 percent, according to new data from a NewsmaxZogby Tracking Poll.
The numbers are within the margin of error for a dead heat, and it could be the undecideds who make up the difference: A full 10 percent declared themselves as such in the data.
Though Florida is leaning slightly Obama, the pressure is on for the president: Overall, more think it is “time for someone new” than think Obama “deserves to be re-elected” — 45 percent to 43 percent.
The NewsmaxZogby online survey of 828 likely voters is the first in a series of three focusing on Florida, and was conducted from Sunday, Oct. 14., through Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Florida is crucial for the presidency with 29 electoral votes, and with all eyes on the state, both candidates are making great pushes there, either with personal appearances or via surrogates. Romney’s resurgence after the first debate brought the state well within striking distance, with many polls pushing him ahead, albeit with slim margins.
Romney has segments of Florida’s population wrapped up, according to the latest data, however: Among respondents who were in the military or who had a family member in the military, 53 percent said they’d vote for Romney if the election were held today; only 37 percent said they vote for Obama.
NASCAR fans overwhelmingly weighed in favor of the former Massachusetts governor as well: 55 percent compared to 37 percent for Obama when asked the same question.
As expected, Obama held sway over union households: 51 percent said they’d vote for him as opposed to 43 percent who said they’d vote for Romney.
Obama’s approval ratings in the state could be problematic. When asked whether they approved of the president’s performance, 48 percent overall said they “strongly” or “somewhat” approved of the job he’s doing. The same percentage — 48 percent — said they “somewhat” or “strongly” disapproved.
Among men, 48 percent polled said it they think it is time for someone new; 40 percent said Obama deserves to be re-elected. Women favored his re-election, 46 percent to 42 percent.
The candidates were tied among those without a college degree: 47 percent said they’d vote for Obama if the election were held today, and 46 percent said they’d vote for Romney.
The NewsmaxZogby poll of U.S. likely voters sampled respondents who were 36 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans, and 28 percent independents; 70 percent were white, 15.1 percent Hispanic, and 13 percent African-American; and 15 percent were between the ages of 18 and 29, 34 percent between the ages 30 and 49, 28 percent between the ages of 50 and 64, and 23 percent were age 65 or older.
The joint venture between Newsmax and New York state-based pollster John Zogby will feature tracking polls in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia as well as in the nation as a whole up to Election Day.
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