New Poll: Mitt’s Got a Serious Swing State Problem

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_o/2699577241/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Matt Ortega</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Veteran politicos and journalists who’ve done a few tours on the campaign trail like to say that, in a tight race, you shouldn’t put much faith in national presidential polls. It’s the state-level polls, especially those in the handful of fiercely fought battleground states, that really matter.

By that measure, President Obama has opened up a sizable lead over Mitt Romney with five weeks until Election Day. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, Obama leads Romney 52 percent to 41 percent among likely voters in swing states, which include Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Nationwide, 49 percent of likely voters say they’d vote for Obama in November, while 47 percent said the same for Romney.

Obama’s swing state advantage in this latest poll doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Last week, Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls showed Obama ahead by 10 points in Ohio and nine in Florida. RealClearPolitics‘ polling averages in the top nine swing states show Obama ahead in all of them, albeit by single-digit margins.

These latest swing state polls suggest that Romney’s path to 270 electoral college votes is slimmer than ever. Romney needs to win the bulk of the top nine swing states—Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Nevada—to have a shot at prevailing on November 6.

Obama’s lead could be a result of his campaign’s advertising and ground-game advantage in those key states. According to a recent Wesleyan Media Project analysis, Obama’s campaign and his Democratic allies out-advertised Romney and various GOP groups by more than 2-to-1 between late August and early September, running 40,000 broadcast and cable ads compared to Romney and the GOP’s 18,000. That disparity is evident in battleground states. Between April and early September, Democrats ran more ads in Las Vegas, Cleveland, Denver, Orlando, Reno, Norfolk, Tampa, and Richmond—all major media markets in swing states—according to Wesleyan.

And the Obama team is outpacing the Romney campaign in the ground game as well. In Ohio, for instance, the Obama campaign has 96 field offices and the Romney campaign has 36.

Here’s more from the ABC News/Washington Post poll, on the candidates and the issues:

Obama continues to hold double-digit advantages when it comes to being the more friendly and likable of the two, and as the candidate more voters trust on social issues, women’s issues and terrorism. He maintains a big lead when it comes to empathizing with people facing economic problems. And he has a 10-point edge when it comes to handling “an unexpected major crisis,” the first time the question has been asked this year.

He and Romney are judged more evenly on some other key issues, including the deficit, health care and Medicare. Romney does not have significant leads in any of the areas tested in the poll, but he has a numerical edge on dealing with the federal budget deficit, 48 percent to 45 percent, among all voters.

On the economy—still the dominant issue in the campaign—voters render a split verdict, with the two tied at 47 percent.

The state of the economy and dissatisfaction over the country’s direction continue to be steep obstacles to the president’s reelection—but Obama benefits from recent improvements in voters’ moods, even if it is mainly Democrats who are feeling better about things.

More voters still give Obama negative ratings for his handling of the economy, but the number of approvers has edged up to 47 percent, its highest level in nearly two years.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate