Poll shows Obama even (at best) in Florida and Ohio

The Obama campaign will take little encouragement from a new Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey of three so-called swing states. The poll shows President Obama and Mitt Romney essentially tied in Ohio and Florida, with Obama 8 points ahead in Pennsylvania. The numbers are:

Florida: Obama 43, Romney 44
Ohio: Obama 44, Romney 42
Pennsylvania: Obama 47, Romney 39

In late March, the same polling organization had Obama leading by 6 points in Florida and 7 points in Ohio. Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania at that time was only 3 points.

None of the March results made much sense to me. I don’t consider Pennsylvania to be a legitimate swing state. Romney will probably run more than 5 points worse there than he will nationally, as the current Quinnipiac polling suggests. Accordingly, if Romney wins Pennsylvania, it likely will mean that he has run sufficiently well that he doesn’t need that state to prevail in the Electoral College.

By contrast, Ohio and Florida are the quintessential swing states. Polling there should look almost exactly like it does nationally (where the two candidates are in a dead heat), and in the latest Quinnipiac results this is the case.

However, these Quinnipiac results may be more favorable to Romney than meets the eye. Ed Morrissey points out that Quinnipiac probably over-sampled Democrats in both states:

The [Democrat/Republican/Independent mix] in Florida is 31/28/37 [and] in Ohio 34/26/34. . . .The CNN exit polls in 2008 — a banner year for Obama — put Florida at 37/34/29 [and] Ohio at 39/31/30. In 2010, Florida was even-up at 36/36/28, while Ohio was 36/37/28. . . .Republicans are consistently underweighted in these Q-polls. Obama is probably in even more trouble than the numbers above indicate.

Thanks Ed. You have made my day.