Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll gives President Barack Obama a one point lead in Florida, a five point lead in Ohio, and a two point lead in Virginia over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The leads in Florida and Virginia are well within the poll’s margin of error, so both are essentially a statistical tie heading into the final six days of the campaign. But with President Obama maintaining a five point lead in the critical swing state of Ohio, Romney can’t afford to lose either Florida or Virginia.
Overall, the average of all the polls in Florida currently give Romney a 0.9 percent lead in the Sunshine State, according to Pollster. Virginia’s poll average shows the president and his challenger tied at 47.5 percent and in Ohio, on average, Obama has maintained a lead over the last month.
In Ohio, the President’s average lead has been trending upwards, despite a surge by Romney after the first presidential debate.
On the issue of the economy, Florida voters are evenly split with 49 percent preferring Romney and 47 percent taking the president, according to the Quinnipiac/CBS News/NY Times poll. Virginia voters prefer Romney on the economy by a 50-46 percent margin and in Ohio voters are split with 49 percent picking Obama and 48 percent taking Romney.
One dynamic that has taken shape, according to the Quinnipiac poll, is that women are breaking for President Obama by roughly 10 percent over Romney, while men prefer Romney by almost the same margin, according to the Q-Poll.
Obama has a large lead among early voters in Ohio, with a 60-34 percent margin over his Republican challenger, according to Talking Points Memo. But, Republicans believe there will be a surge in voting on Election Day and that Obama’s numbers in early voting may be peaking too soon.
Women likely voters in Florida back Obama 53 – 43 percent, down from 58 – 39 percent September 26. Men back Romney 52 – 43 percent, compared to 50 – 47 percent in September. White voters go Republican 59 – 37 percent, while black voters go Democratic 96 – 2 percent and Hispanic voters back Obama 57 – 39 percent, according to the Q-Poll. Independent voters back Romney by a slim 49 – 44 percent margin.
The economy is the most important election issue for 51 percent of Florida voters, while 15 percent list health care and 9 percent cite Medicare. The nation’s economy is getting better, voters say 42 – 33 percent and Florida’s economy is getting better, voters say 37 – 25 percent, with 36 percent who say it is unchanged.
Obama cares about their needs and problems, voters say 60 – 38 percent, but they are divided on Romney as 47 percent say he cares and 49 percent say he doesn’t care. Romney has strong leadership qualities, voters say 65 – 31 percent, compared to 55 – 43 percent for Obama.
Also, in the Florida Senate Race, Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson leads Republican Representative Connie Mack by a 52-39 percent margin. Senator Nelson has opened up a large lead over Mack in all recent polling and is expected to win by a wide margin.