President Obama now holds his largest leads to date in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to three new CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University polls released early Wednesday. The polls all show Obama easily clearing the critical 50-percent threshold in each state, largely as a result of his commanding advantage among female voters.
Obama leads Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 9 points in Florida, 10 points in Ohio and 12 points in Pennsylvania. The three states together combine to award 67 electoral votes, and no candidate has won the presidency without claiming at least two of them since 1960.
Florida and Ohio in particular are considered must-wins for the Romney campaign. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., kicked off a two-day bus tour of Ohio on Tuesday, where they told supporters they would win the state in November.
But the new polls suggest that if the election were held today, they would lose these three states, and likely the Electoral College. In fact, slight majorities of likely voters in all three states say they think Obama would do a better job handling the economy than Romney, the polls show. Compared to Quinnipiac polls conducted prior to the two parties' conventions, Obama has improved significantly on this measure in both Florida and Ohio.
The polls also show significant advantages for Democrats in the composition of the electorate. In each state, Democrats outnumber Republicans by margins of at least 9 percentage points -- though only in Pennsylvania is the change from the previous Quinnipiac survey statistically significant. Regardless, the polls seem likely to further ignite the argument over whether public and media surveys contain more respondents who identify as Democrats than will vote on Election Day.
-- Steven Shepard
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney, Ryan Double Down in Ohio
[Tampa Bay Times, 9/26/12] Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan are in the midst of a three-day bus tour through the crucial battleground of Ohio, following a week of bad poll numbers for Romney in key swing states. The crowds have been enthusiastic, but the GOP ticket hasn’t presented any big, audacious ideas.
Romney on Federal Debt: Don’t Expect ‘Huge’ Tax Cuts
[National Journal, 9/26/12] In explaining his tax plan to Ohio voters today, Mitt Romney said he would simplify the tax code, but that people should not expect large tax cuts. Experts have questioned the math on Romney's proposal, which includeses balancing the deficit and lowering tax rates without eliminating certain deducations.
Analysis: What Bill Clinton Has Done for Barack Obama[Washington Post, 9/26] Besides President Obama himself, Chris Cillizza argues, President Clinton is the person who has done the most to open up Obama’s lead over Romney. Clinton is enjoying new highs in personal popularity, and Americans associate him with economic prosperity and political centrism.
In Ohio, Romney Says His 'Heart Aches' for Jobless
[Reuters, 9/26/12] On the second day of his Ohio bus tour, Romney projected empathy for the unemployed, appearing alongside golfer Jack Nicklaus. The message comes as Romney releases a new ad in which he speaks to the camera, saying, "President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families."
Ryan on the Attack in Fort Collins
[Coloradoan, 9/26/12] Ryan called Obama's fiscal record an "absolute abdication of leadership" in front of 1,500 supporters at a riding-mower factory in Colorado. He also promised to repeal Obamacare and said, "We are projecting weakness abroad."
Will Health Rebate Checks Help Obama?
[National Journal, 9/26/12] Some experts predicted the mailing of health rebate checks could be a turning point for Obama’s health care law, and perhaps give a boost to Obama’s reelection bid. But NJ’s Margot Sanger-Katz writes that the arrival of the checks is unlikely to shift public perceptions in a major way.
Polls: Obama Holds Big Leads in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania
[National Journal, 9/26/12] Obama now holds his largest leads to date in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, according to three new polls. Together, the states award 67 electoral votes; no candidate has won the presidency without claiming at least two of them since 1960. But the Romney team says the polls are wrong.
Obama Getting Less Debate Practice Than Romney
[Los Angeles Times, 9/26/12] With the constant pressure that comes with the job, aides worry that the president may not get enough practice at the podium. Meanwhile, Romney, who sorely needs a strong performance on Oct. 3, has been rigorously preparing for weeks.
The Battle for White Men
[Politico, 9/26/12] The white male vote has shifted over the past few decades, from red in 1972 to blue in 2008 and red again in 2010. Now, things could be shifting again: As both candidates target and woo this demographic, Romney faces an additional hurdle with middle-class men after his "47 percent" comments.
Romney, Ryan Invoke Portman
[Cincinnati Community Press, 9/26/12] Appealing to voters in the swing state of Ohio, Paul Ryan says a Romney-Ryan administration would draw on Buckeye State Sen. Rob Portman for advice and leadership, but stopped short of saying the senator would be part of the administration.
Is Mitt Romney the President?
[The Guardian, 9/26/12] The U.K. newspaper launched a stunning interactive graphic online today that shows the state of the presidential election. Oh, and the answer to the above question: No, “but he could be the new president-elect in 41 days,” it reads.
How the Presidential Campaigns Are Spending Money, in One Chart
[Washington Post, 9/26/12] By looking at financial disclosure forms, The Post has found that the Obama campaign is spending more on advertising, payroll, fundraising, and polling than the Romney campaign. Team Romney, on the other hand, is spending more on mail and consulting.
Judge Hints He May Block Pennsylvania Voter-ID Law
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/26/12] Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. suggested that he would move to block Pennsylvania’s controversial voter-ID law, which critics have argued would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.
New ID Laws Could Delay Outcome of Close Election
[Associated Press, 9/26/12] New controversial voting laws are likely to increase the number of people who have to cast provisional ballots in key states, leaving tight races for president, Congress, governor, and local offices in limbo for days while election officials scrutinize ballots.
Obama’s Claim That ’90 Percent’ of Deficit Is Due to Bush: Four Pinocchios
[Washington Post, 9/26/12] The Post’s Fact Checker blog concludes that, while Obama certainly inherited an economic mess, the president pushed for spending increases and tax cuts that also have contributed to the nation’s fiscal deterioration.