Obama Leads In New Polls In Ohio And Florida

Two new polls from The Washington Post show the President expanding his lead in two of the most important states in the Electoral College battle between the President and Mitt Romney:

President Obama has grabbed a significant lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio and holds a slender edge in Florida, according to two new polls by The Washington Post, indicating that there are fresh hurdles in the way of the Republican challenger’s best route to victory in the Electoral College.

Among likely voters, Obama is ahead of Romney in Ohio 52 percent to 44 percent. In Florida, the president leads 51 percent to 47 percent, a numerical but not statistically significant edge. Among all registered Florida voters, Obama is ahead by nine percentage points.


The new polls add to the evidence that Obama has benefited most from the two parties’ conventions, a series of sharp, long-distance exchanges and a barrage of television ads. Nationally, polls continue to show a close race but with new-found momentum for Obama in the battleground states that are likely to decide the election.

There are few plausible ways for Romney to win the election were he to lose both Florida and Ohio, and even losing one of them would make a path to victory exceedinItgly narrow. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio, and Florida, with its 29 electoral college delegates, may be even more vital to Romney’s hopes.

Both campaigns had thought of Florida as potentially more hospitable to Romney than to the president. But Obama’s competitive standing there — benefiting, as he also did in the Virginia poll, from a huge lead among female voters — spotlights Romney’s recent struggles.

For its part, Ohio has been the scene of hard-fought campaigns the past three elections and is widely seen as a barometer of economic stress. Obama’s lead in Ohio is built in part on generally positive assessments of his job performance and on head-to-head comparisons with Romney on a series of issues. Slightly more than half of all Ohio voters — 53 percent — give Obama positive marks for in dealing with the economy, with more — 56 percent approving of his overall performance.

Fully 36 percent of all Ohio voters say they have been contacted by the Obama campaign; 29 percent say they have been contacted by the Romney side.

Matched against Romney, 50 percent of all voters say they trust the president more to deal with the economy; 43 percent say so of his Republican challenger. By a much wider margin, 57 to 34 percent, registered voters in Ohio say Obama rather than Romney better understands the economic problems that people are facing. Obama also holds a big lead over Romney on who is trusted to advance the interests of the middle class.

It’s worth noting that there are two other polls in Ohio that show the race as being closer. One, from a company called Gravis Marketing, show as one point race while the other, from another company called Purple Strategies, shows Obama four points ahead of Governor Romney. However, both of these companies are new to the Presidential polling game, and they’ve been putting out some really odd poll results in other states lately so it’s safe to consider them outliers at the moment. Moreover, even with these two polls in the mix, the RCP Average gives the President a +4,4 advantage and the chart shows a clear trend in the President’s favor in the Buckeye State:

In Florida, the Post poll is the latest in a series of recent polls that appear to show the President pulling away in the Sunshine State. Once again, there are recent polls from Gravis and Purple Strategies that show Romney leading by one point in the state that stand out for their inconsistency from the overall trend. The the RCP Poll Average, though, the President has a +2.2 advantage and, once again, the trend appears to be moving in his favor:

If these states are slipping away from Romney, then that is obviously a serious problem for his campaign. They represent a sizable chunk of the battleground Electoral Votes that are outstanding and it’s hard to see how Romney wins without at least one, and probably both, of these states in his column.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Fiona says:

    I’ll be waiting for the inevitable post by Jan or one of her cohorts as to why these polls are part of the liberal media’s plot to game the election by depressing Republican turnout.

    For what it’s worth, recent polls have the race in North Carolina tightening up significantly. One poll by Civitas showed Obama up by four.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    If Romney loses both Ohio and Florida it goes beyond “serious” to “fatal.” there’s no realistic scenario that allows Romney to lose one and still win, let alone both.

  3. MM says:

    @Fiona: Pajamas Media is pushing a site called Unskewed polls, which essentially takes every poll “corrects” the math to use a similar percentage of Dem/Rep/Ind as Rasmussen, then adds a few more republicans in to reflect the “real” makeup of the country, then posts the “true” takeaways from the polls.

    Oddly enough, Romney is winning by a landslide using those metrics. I’m really surprised I didn’t see links to that site from here yesterday.

  4. Eric says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Just losing one of those states would make his campaign fatal. Romney NEEDS Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. If he doesn’t have all three of them, he’s done.

  5. CB says:

    I look forward to hearing dick morris and sean hannity telling me why all polls are to be disregarded, until they favor a republican, at which point they become the blindlingy obvious evidence of the will of the people.

    is this f@#$%&^! election over yet?

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @MM: This is starting to look like Soviet economic statistics. Don’t like what the numbers are telling you? Simply make up some others!

  7. KansasMom says:

    Go to NRO Fiona. They are all over that talking point!

  8. stonetools says:

    This is excellent news for John McCain.

  9. CB says:

    for what its worth, i remember the same selective reading of polls in 04 when kerry was well on his way to defeat. i think this kind of thinking says more about us as political participants on the whole than it does about republicans in 2012, specifically.

  10. Phillip says:

    I’d be curious to see a poll that also asks respondents where they stood on Ohio’s referendum-spanked union law that Romney supported. I get the sense that Ohioans who turned on Kasich for that aren’t likely to be wooed by Romney, if anything it reinforces for fence-sitters here what might happen if they don’t vote for Obama.

  11. mattb says:

    The thing to keep reminding our Conservative friends in terms of polling is that even the Blessed Rasmussen — you know the pollster that they always remind us is the most accurate evah — is showing Romney behind.

    Here’s the results when you plug the Rass map into RC Politics:

    And it should be noted that unlike other Pollsters, Rasmussen is showing Romney ahead in Colorado and Iowa. Even with those two states in his Corner, Obama is beating him by nearly 100 points in Rasmussen’s projection.

  12. Fiona says:


    I read about the atskewed site somewhere. Pretty amazing, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Benen has a good article about poll denialism over at Maddow blog: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/09/25/14094036-epistemic-closure-and-poll-denialism

    I don’t know if the right wing media types promoting this meme actually believe it, but when even Rasmussen shows a pretty big electoral vote lead, it may be time to admit that Obama has the advantage.

  13. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Yeah, but keep in mind Romney controls the voting machines and can suppress the votes of college and grad students and of course racial minorities merely with his mind.

    That aside, I’m actually surprised WaPo doesn’t have Obama ahead in Ohio by double digits. It’s been pretty clear for several weeks now that Ohio is ground zero of the campaign. Some might say that WaPo can’t completely jump the shark tank with a 10-point lead meme (and that even Zombieland could figure out Obama couldn’t possibly win Ohio in ’12 by more than 2x the margin as he won it in ’08), but when you’re all in you’re all in. Besides, it’s not as if WaPo needs to worry about its circulation. Nobody reads them in any event.

    That all said, obviously Ohio is a state that Obama might very well win in real life. There are a lot of union members there plus an extremely militant black demographic, who’ll vote 97-3 for Obama on heavy turnout. Last time around in Ohio Obama received 51.5%. This time around Obama could conceivably break 50.5%. He probably could win the state with 49.5%. But of course time will tell for certain.

  14. @MM:

    I’m really surprised I didn’t see links to that site from here yesterday.


  15. Fiona says:

    Ah Tsar, you don’t disappoint.

  16. PJ says:


    The thing to keep reminding our Conservative friends in terms of polling is that even the Blessed Rasmussen — you know the pollster that they always remind us is the most accurate evah — is showing Romney behind.

    That’s because you forgot to adjust the Rasmussen polls.
    The only true poll is the one inside every true Conservative Christian Caucasian,or CCC for short. (Not to be confused with the KKK, that’s a different letter.)

  17. An Interested Party says:

    There are a lot of union members there plus an extremely militant black demographic, who’ll vote 97-3 for Obama on heavy turnout. Last time around in Ohio Obama received 51.5%.

    Oh my, who knew that Angela Davis and Bobby Seale, along with the spirits of Huey Newton and Stokely Carmichael, all lived in Ohio…

  18. Jr says:

    Romney is close to being toast.

    FL had to be lean Romney at this point, the fact that it isn’t really says alot.

  19. anjin-san says:

    @ An Interested Party

    Brothers be whuppin’ some ass in Ohio if you don’t be voting Obama…

  20. MM says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I stand corrected.