New Polls Show Obama Ahead in Florida, Ohio

New Polls Show Obama Ahead in Florida, Ohio

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - September 25, 2012

President Obama leads Mitt Romney in the key battleground states of Florida and Ohio, according to two new Washington Post surveys.

The race appears closer, though, in the Sunshine State, where Obama garners 51 percent of the support from likely voters to Romney's 47 percent. In Ohio, the president leads by a wider margin among that group of respondents, 52 percent to 44 percent.

Obama receives positive job approval ratings in both states. (In this and all other sub-categories, registered voters were measured.) In Florida, 55 percent approve of his job performance while 44 percent disapprove. In Ohio, 55 percent approve while 43 percent disapprove. Obama also garners slightly positive grades on the economy: In Florida, 52 percent approve while 47 percent disapprove; in Ohio, 53 percent approve while 46 percent disapprove.

Similarly, respondents in Florida say they trust the president over the GOP nominee to do a better job on the economy by a 49 percent to 45 percent margin. In Ohio, the split is 50 percent for Obama to 43 percent for Romney.

The majority in both states believes Obama better understands the economic problems Americans are having. In Florida, Obama leads in that regard, 53 percent to 39 percent; in Ohio, he leads by 57 percent to 43 percent.

The majority of respondents in both states -- 55 percent in Florida and 56 percent in Ohio -- think the country is “pretty seriously” on the wrong track. But in both places they also appear more confident it will get back on track economically if Obama is re-elected. In Florida, 52 percent say they are confident the country will do so under Obama in the next year or two, while 47 percent say they are not confident. In Ohio, the margin is 53 percent to 46 percent. If Romney is elected, 48 percent of Florida voters say they are confident the economy will get back on track under his administration, while 51 percent say they are not confident. In Ohio, that ratio is 48 percent confident, 51 percent not confident.

Obama also leads on Medicare in Florida and Ohio, both of which have large senior populations. By a 53 percent to 38 percent margin, voters say Obama would better determine the future of Medicare, the government’s health insurance program for the elderly. In Ohio, the margin is 53 percent to 38 percent. The future of Medicare has become a focus for both campaigns, highlighted by the vice presidential selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, whose House budget plan proposes substantial changes to Medicare and other entitlement programs. Obama leads by similar margins on the issue of Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor.

But the states split between the two candidates when it comes to who would better deal with the federal budget deficit. In Florida, Obama edges Romney, 49 percent to 45 percent. But in Ohio, Romney has the lead, 45 percent to 43 percent.

The president is viewed more favorably than Romney is in both states. In Florida, 59 percent have a favorable impression of him, while 40 percent hold an unfavorable one. In Ohio, that ratio is 59 percent to 39 percent.

By a 50 percent to 48 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable impression of Romney. But in Ohio, the ratio is nearly reversed: 47 percent view him favorably while 50 percent view him unfavorably.

The poll surveyed 925 registered voters in Florida and 934 registered voters in Ohio from Sept. 19-23. The sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points for both. The sampling error for likely voters (729 in Florida and 759 in Ohio) is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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