Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are neck and neck in the latest Gallup poll of swing states, including Florida. But, a deeper look at the numbers shows Romney’s path to the White House may be narrowing.
According to Gallup, President Obama currently leads Romney by two points, 47-45 across the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Further, the Gallup poll showed that overall, President Obama’s supporters who say they are extremely enthusiastic, very enthusiastic, or somewhat enthusiastic are far ahead of similar Romney supporters by a 13 point margin.
The new numbers line up with polling released last week by Quinnipiac University that showed Obama led in Ohio and Pennsylvania and was trailing by one in the Sunshine State.
But, the numbers showed an interesting trend that could have Romney reevaluating his overall campaign strategy.
In the Q-Poll of Florida, Romney dominated Obama on the issue of who’s better at handling the economy, 49-40. Yet overall, that only gave Romney a one point lead. In Ohio, Romney held a four point lead on the economy question, but Obama still led him overall by two points.
In Pennsylvania, Obama came out ahead of Romney by one point on the economy and overall he had an eight-point lead.
The numbers showed that if Romney is to win the presidency, he will have to far outpace Obama on the question of the economy in every state. Part of Romney’s problem has been his favorability rating, which has been running at nearly a 10 point deficit coming out of the Republican nomination contests.
Romney has started to pivot towards the center slowly after embracing far right positions in the primaries. Historically, most candidates have to do this if they want to capture the presidency.
Part of the problem Romney faces is that the most important issues of the economy, jobs, health care costs and other items have traditionally been Democratic strengths. This has been eroded greatly as the Great Recession still doesn’t want to let go.
In a poll from Politico, Obama scores well on foreign policy issues, social security and Medicare, and is roughly even on taxes and jobs. The Politico poll also found that Obama’s favorability ratings bested Romney by roughly a 70-56 percent margin.
The same Politico poll found that regardless of who Romney picks as his vice-presidential nominee, it’s not likely going to be impactful on the voters surveyed in swing states.
All of it points to an all-out slug fest over the next six months. Republicans will try to hammer Obama on the economy to increase Romney’s lead on the economic question. But, Romney will have to win that argument decisively to overcome his unfavorability numbers and Obama’s performance in other key presidential areas.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are about to erupt in campaign advertising spending and that could turn the tide for either candidate come November. Obama will have to recapture his youth voters and get them out in force while also trying to appeal to seniors who want to protect their Medicare and Social Security.
Florida will again play a key role, but there is a path for both candidates to lose Florida and still capture the presidency. Whether either one of them can do that is unknown, but this will likely go down as the most expensive presidential race in U.S. history.