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Romney Pulling Ahead In Florida?

A new poll from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald has Mitt Romney up seven points in the Sunshine State:

What a difference a debate makes.

Republican Mitt Romney has opened a large, 7 percentage-point lead over President Barack Obama in must-win Florida, according to a new poll of likely voters conducted for The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

Romney’s 51-44 percent advantage is just on the cusp of the poll’s error margin — and it marks a dramatic 8-point shift since last month.

“Obama’s now swimming upstream,” said Brad Coker, pollster with Mason Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the survey of 800 likely Florida voters this month and last for The Herald and its news partners, including Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13.

The previous poll, which showed Obama with an inside-the-error-margin lead, was before last Wednesday’s debate when Obama gave a lackluster performance while Romney appeared to excel.

This latest poll showed that 5 percent of those who said they were undecided before the debate say they’ll vote for Romney. And 4 percent of those who said they favored Obama pre-debate moved away from the president — 2 percent toward Romney and 2 percent undecided.

“Obama didn’t flip one voter,” Coker said. “He didn’t gain 1 percent from the debate.”

(…)

Independents moved 24 points away from Obama and toward Romney, who’s now favored by 13 points, or 52-39, over the president.

Another huge gain came with women, who once favored Obama by double digits, and are now virtually split between the top two contenders. They moved a total of 13 points in Romney’s favor in a month.

This is quite a massive move in Romney’s favor in a short period of time, so there’s reason to be skeptical that he is actually this far ahead in a state that has been particularly close for most of this election cycle. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that we’ve also got new polls from Rasmussen and ARG that show Romney ahead by four and three points respectively, so it does seem like there have been some movement in Romney’s direction in the state. Indeed, that’s exactly what the chart at RealClearPolitics shows us:

This gives Romney a +2.0 lead in the RealClearPolitics Average, the highest he’s ever had in the state. If numbers like this are reflected in future polling, then Romney may well be able to get Florida’s 29 Electoral Votes on Election Night.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. KariQ says:

    A two point lead I’ll believe. Seven? No way.

    I suspect that this may turn out to be the best polling week that Romney will have the entire campaign. Biden’s performance last night, if combined with a decent performance by Obama in the next debate, could result in Democrats taking heart, pulling their heads out of the oven, and expressing more support than we’ve seen this week. If so, we could easily see Florida move back to a tie very soon.

    Of course, it won’t really matter unless Romney can figure out a way to move Ohio or Wisconsin into his column, while also taking Virginia, and that is not looking too likely at this point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  2. stonetools says:

    Last night’s debate is probably going a long way to reverse that .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. Anderson says:

    Nate Silver pilloried ARG.

    I’m struck by how the frequency of Rasmussen polls affects poll averages. No one polls as much, it seems from RCP.

    That said, Obama could well lose FL. But it will be close either way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  4. Geek, Esq. says:

    Florida is following the national trend.

    It’s a little more conservative than the rest of the country, so if you figure Obama’s behind by 1-3 points nationally, then he’s probably behind 2-4 in Florida.

    Plouffe’s pushback on the M/D poll seems to indicate they’re at 47% in their internal polling. Not good enough.

    Florida was never a tipping point state–it’s a must for Romney but not Obama.

    It’ seems awfully clear that Romney is going to win the popular vote in three weeks. The real question is whether Obama can still eek out an electoral college win.

    Romney is going to win Florida, Virginia, NC, and Colorado. Obama probably keeps NH.

    The only states that really matter are:

    Wisconsin
    Ohio
    Iowa
    Nevada

    Those four states will decide the election. Obama’s ahead in all four, but trending in the wrong direction in all four.

    The most ironic thing is that where this election turned was when Mitt Romney was revealed to be a superior candidate to Obama (he would be a worse President, but that doesn’t matter at this point).

    Obama needs to hit a home run on Tuesday. But he has to be willing to swing the bat first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  5. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Anderson:

    Not only Rasmussen, but a bunch of other junk polls from Gravis, WeaskAmerica, various Republican consultants, etc.

    That said, Romney is indisputably ahead in the national vote.

    It looks right now that the odds are about:

    25% Romney wins popular vote and electoral college
    50% Romney wins popular vote and Obama wins electoral college
    25% Obama wins popular vote and electoral college.

    Not sure anyone should be feeling good about the Presidential election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  6. SKI says:

    One huge red flag for that Mason-Dixon poll, Doug: It has Romney ahead among Hispanics by 2 .

    I can see Romney ending up winning Florida but (a) not by a 7 point margin and (b) not among Hispanics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. Geek, Esq. says:

    @SKI:

    I agree. Florida is a state that generally varies from Democrat +3 to Republican +5. That’s the range, always. It’s about 2-3% more conservative than the country as a whole. With Romney ahead +1-3 nationally, 51-47 or so seems like the likely number as of today (and the final result).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: Actually, Republicans have typically done well with Hispanics in Florida because of the massive Cuban population. I think it’s possible, if not probable, that Romney wins the state and carries the Hispanic vote there. I still think it comes down to Ohio, though, and think it’s a longshot.

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  9. James,

    This is true. As I noted the other day, Florida is one state where Romney is doing fairly decently among Latinos thanks to the Cuban vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. Geek, Esq. says:

    Obama won the Latino vote 57-42 last time around in Florida. That percentage figures to hold in 2012. The difference will be in the racial composition of the vote, and how badly Obama has tanked with white Floridians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Geek, Esq. says:

    Btw, if you recalibrate the M/D poll to assume roughly the same margin amongst Latino voters as in 2008, it looks more like a 4% margin than a 7% margin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. An Interested Party says:

    The most ironic thing is that where this election turned was when Mitt Romney was revealed to be a superior candidate to Obama (he would be a worse President, but that doesn’t matter at this point).

    One debate performance alone does not make Romney a superior candidate to anyone…well, maybe to Newt Gingrich, but that’s a given…

    50% Romney wins popular vote and Obama wins electoral college

    Well, it’s not like we haven’t been there before…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Davebo says:

    Actually, Republicans have typically done well with Hispanics in Florida because of the massive Cuban population.

    Odd, Obama garnered 57% of Florida’s hispanic vote in 2008. Republicans do will with old Florida Cubans (note, not Cuban Americans per their own choice) and they are dying off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0