President Obama holds a comfortable lead over challenger Mitt Romney in three of the most important “swing” states, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University.
Obama leads Romney by 9 percentage points in Ohio, 6 points in Pennsylvania and 4 points in Florida. The poll was conducted June 19-25. The president has increased his lead in Ohio and Florida since the last Quinnipiac poll on May 3, while in Pennsylvania his lead decreased by 2 points.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said Obama was bolstered—particularly among Hispanics—by his announcement that he would give young undocumented immigrants a path to stay in the country legally. The president holds almost a 2-1 lead among Hispanic voters in Florida, the poll found.
“If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through Election Day, he would be virtually assured of re-election,” Brown said in a statement.
In the May 3 swing state poll, Obama led Romney by just one point in Florida, meaning he gained at least three points in about two months. The poll was taken of about 1,200 likely voters in each state, so the margin for Obama in Florida could turn out to be even higher if more Hispanics show up at the polls in November.
Of the three swing states in the poll, Ohio is perhaps the best predictor of how the entire election will turn out: In every election for the past 48 years, the winner of Ohio won the whole thing. On this measure, Obama is sitting pretty: he leads Romney 47 percent to 38 percent in Ohio, up dramatically since the May 3 poll, when his lead was 44 percent to 42 percent.
Much of the change has been due to voters rejecting Romney’s argument that he would be better on the economy, particularly in Ohio, where Obama has a 47 to 42 percent advantage on that question.
“For much of last year, more voters in these swing states have said Romney would do a better job on the economy,” Brown said. “That advantage has largely disappeared.”