Although voters remain uncertain of his ability to preside over the national economy, President Barack Obama benefits from the strength of his personal appeal and leads Mitt Romney in three battleground states, according to new polls from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times.
In the slate of polls, Obama’s largest lead comes in Pennsylvania, where he tops Romney by 11-points, 53-42 percent. The president holds 6-point leads in Florida (51-45 percent) and Ohio (50-44 percent). Despite Obama’s solid advantages, voters in all three states are split over which candidate is best suited to handle the economy — perhaps a sign that the president has the capacity to overcome vulnerabilities on what is widely considered to be the paramount issue in the 2012 election cycle.
Obama clearly draws a boost from his personal favorability, an area wherein he has consistently outperformed Romney throughout the campaign. While voters remain split on his job performance in all three states, Obama’s favorability rating hits the 50 percent threshold in Pennsylvania (53 percent), Ohio (51 percent) and Florida (50 percent). Romney’s favorability rating, meanwhile, is underwater in all three states. The poll also shows that respondents who prefer Obama are far more likely to “strongly favor” their candidate than those who said they intend to vote for Romney.
Obama carried all three states four years ago over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The PollTracker Average currently shows the president leading Romney in Pennsylvania (50.2-43.6 percent), Ohio (48.2-42.3 percent) and Florida (48.2-45.1 percent).
Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times will be conducting polling on the presidential race in six swing states for the duration of the campaign. Along with the aforementioned three states, polling will be done in Wisconsin, Colorado and Virginia — all of which were also carried by Obama in 2008.
The polls were conducted July 24-30 using live phone interviews with 1,117 likely voters in Florida, 1,193 likely voters in Ohio and 1,168 likely voters in Pennsylvania. Each state’s sample has a margin of error of three percentage points.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.