Mitt Romney still has a lot of work to do if he is to capture the three key swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania this fall, a new poll shows.
President Barack Obama has more than 50 percent support in all three states, holding significant leads against Romney, according to the survey from Quinnipiac University.
And it is women who give the president the edge, said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the university’s polling institute.
Obama holds a 6 percentage point edge over Romney in both Florida and Ohio and leads by 9 points in Pennsylvania, the survey of likely voters said. Over the past half century, the candidate that won at least two of the three states took the White House.
Brown said that Romney’s best hope would appear to be to keep his election strategy focused on the economy as that is the area that he gets the best ratings.
“Half of all likely voters say the economy is the most important issue to their vote, far ahead of any other issue,” he said. “The saving grace for Gov. Mitt Romney is that he roughly breaks even with the president on who is best on the economy.”
Despite Obama’s lead, the poll found that in all three states respondents said that his re-election would leave them worse off. However, in Ohio and Pennsylvania they also say Romney’s election would have the same effect.
Brown said the figures show that Romney’s choice of a running mate could be crucial. “The president's strength among women is the dominant dynamic fueling his lead. It is this dynamic that argues for Romney to pick a female running mate.
“On the other hand, the president's lead in Ohio and Florida also argues for the selection by Romney of Sen. Rob Portman or Sen. Marco Rubio since he can't win the White House without the Buckeye and Sunshine states and presumably these home state senators would be the most helpful,” he said.
The Quinnipiac survey showed that Obama’s support for raising taxes on the wealthy has significant support in all three states — 58 to 37 percent in Florida; 60 to 37 percent in Ohio; and 62 to 34 percent in Pennsylvania.
Other figures from the poll include:
- Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich gets the thumbs-up from voters with 47 percent approving of his job performance while 38 percent disapprove. But Republican governors in the two other states are not so popular. Rick Scott’s rating in Florida is 36 percent in favor and 53 percent against; Figures for Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania are 38 percent in favor, 45 percent against;
- Incumbent Democrat senators in all three states lead their Republican challengers. In Ohio, Sherrod Brown leads Josh Mandel by 51 to 39 percent; in Florida Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack by 47 to 40 percent and in Pennsylvania Robert Casey leads Tom Smith by 55 to 37 percent.
The telephone poll of roughly 1,200 likely voters in each state was taken from July 24-30.
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