President Obama enjoys a narrow lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in two important battleground states, Florida and Ohio, according to a new Fox News poll, although Romney has the advantage with highly motivated voters.
Obama leads Romney 45 to 43 percent in Florida and 45 to 39 percent in Ohio, the poll results show. The good news out of the survey for Romney was a substantial lead among registered voters who described themselves as “very” or “extremely” interested in the election. Romney topped Obama 52 to 41 percent with Florida voters who said they are “extremely” interested in the election and beat him 47 to 43 percent with those voters in Ohio.
Four years ago, Obama won Florida over Republican John McCain by less than 3 percentage points and he prevailed over McCain in Ohio by less than 4 points.
The Fox News poll also revealed that Obama’s support is largely affirmative, while Romney’s is mainly a reaction against Obama. In Ohio, 63 percent of those backing the former Massachusetts governor said they would be voting “against” Obama rather than “for” Romney (29 percent). The opposite was true for Obama. Of those backing the president, 71 percent said they would be mainly voting “for” him rather than “against” Romney (22 percent).
The same trend held in Florida. By 75-15 percent, Obama backers said they would vote “for” him rather than “against” Romney, while Romney supporters said they would vote “against” Obama (52 percent) rather than “for” Romney (32 percent).
In both states, the potential choice of a popular favorite son for the vice presidential spot did little to alter the outcome, according to the poll. If Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were to be added to the Republican ticket, it would get 44 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for an Obama-Biden ticket. If Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio was the GOP veep choice, Republicans would still lose the state by 6 percentage points (46-40 percent).
The statewide Florida poll was conducted from April 15 to 17 with 757 randomly-chosen registered voters and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The statewide Ohio poll was based on interviews with 606 registered voters from April 15 to 17, and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.