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Polls: Obama's Lead Cut in Florida, Wisconsin Polls: Obama's Lead Cut in Florida, Wisconsin

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Polls: Obama's Lead Cut in Florida, Wisconsin

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President Barack Obama closes his umbrella as he boards Air Force One before his departure from Nellis Air Force Base on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 in Las Vegas.(AP Photo/David Becker)

The presidential race has tightened slightly in Florida and Wisconsin since the rollout of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as Mitt Romney's running mate, according to new CBS News/Quinnipiac University/New York Times polls released early Thursday. But President Obama's lead in Ohio remains unchanged over the past three weeks.

Obama's advantages in Florida and Wisconsin have been reduced to within the margin of error, the polls show. But in Ohio, Romney remains unpopular, and the president is still ahead by a statistically significant, if single-digit, margin.

 

The polls show Romney with an advantage among seniors, but voters in each state think Obama would do a better job on Medicare, and by wide margins, oppose changing Medicare in the ways Ryan has advocated as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Florida

Obama leads Romney in the Sunshine State, 49 percent to 46 percent. One percent of likely voters prefer another candidate, while 5 percent are undecided. Obama's lead has been halved since late July, when he led Romney, 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

 

Each candidate wins around 90 percent of members of their respective parties, while Romney holds a statistically insignificant 4-point lead among independents. Among men, Romney leads by 6 points, but Obama leads female voters by 12 points.

Romney leads the coveted senior vote, posting a 13-point advantage among voters aged 65 and older, 55 percent to 42 percent. But Obama leads by 4 points among voters aged 50-64, and by a commanding 16 points among voters under age 50.

Romney also leads among white voters, 57 percent to 38 percent, but Obama's overall advantage is built on winning more than three in five Hispanics and 19 of 20 black voters.

Florida is the rare state where both candidates are somewhat popular. Half of voters have a favorable opinion of Obama, compared with 45 percent who view him unfavorably. Romney is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 42 percent.

 

Ryan has made a good early impression on Florida voters: 35 percent have a favorable opinion of him, and 29 percent have an unfavorable opinion. That is a better net score than the one earned by Vice President Joe Biden: 37 percent favorable, compared with 44 percent unfavorable.

Asked whether those under 55 should receive a Medicare system that would "continue as it is today" or "changed to a system in which the government would provide seniors with a fixed amount of money toward purchasing private health insurance or Medicare insurance," the overwhelming majority, 62 percent, favor keeping Medicare as it is today, while just 28 percent support the description of Ryan's plan. Among seniors, 67 percent support keeping the program as it is today.

Ohio

The Buckeye State remains in Obama's column, the poll shows. The president leads Romney, 50 percent to 44 percent, identical to his lead in the previous poll, in late July. Two percent support another candidate, and 4 percent are undecided.

Both candidates are at nearly 95 percent among members of their own parties, while Romney has a slight edge among independents, 48 percent to 43 percent.

Romney's lead among male voters is just 2 percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent. But that does not counterbalance Obama's double-digit advantage among women, 54 percent to 41 percent.

Romney leads Obama among white voters, 52 percent to 43 percent, including a 53-40 lead among white voters without a college degree.

But Romney remains unpopular in Ohio. Just 39 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of him, while 45 percent view him unfavorably. Obama, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by 51 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent.

A new poll of Ohio voters from the University of Cincinnati, released later Thursday morning, showed a closer race with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 46 percent -- within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. In the survey of 847 likely voters, conducted Aug. 16-21, 51 percent said the economy was the top factor in their decision. Another 14 percent cited health care or health insurance; other issues were in single digits.

Wisconsin

The race in Wisconsin, as other surveys have shown, has tightened up, according to the poll. Now, 49 percent of likely voters say they would vote for Obama, while 47 percent would vote for Romney. Two weeks ago, prior to Ryan's placement on the GOP ticket, Obama led by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent. The poll also closely resembles surveys from CNN/ORC International and Marquette Law School over the past week.

Strong partisanship continues to reign in the state. Obama wins the votes of an astounding 98 percent of Democrats, while Romney holds 96 percent of Republicans. Romney holds a slight edge among independents, 48 percent to 43 percent.

Among men, Romney leads, 51 percent to 46 percent. But Obama leads among female voters, 52 percent to 43 percent.

Despite Ryan's ascension, Obama retains a higher favorability rating than Romney. A bare majority, 51 percent, view Obama favorably, compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of him. Likely voters are split on Romney: 44 percent view him favorably, versus 43 percent unfavorably.

Voters do like Ryan -- 44 percent view him favorably, while 35 percent view him unfavorably -- and 31 percent say his selection makes them more likely to support Romney.

But even in Wisconsin, 59 percent of likely voters think Medicare should be kept as it is today for those under age 55, while only 32 percent support Ryan's plans to change Medicare.

The polls were conducted Aug. 15-21. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,241 likely voters in Florida, 1,253 in Ohio, and 1,190 in Wisconsin. Each poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

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