Obama significantly widens leads in major battleground states
US President Barack Obama has widened his lead in the two main battleground states in the 2012 White House race as well as in Pennsylvania, according to a new opinion poll released Wednesday.
The Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll put Obama ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney 53% to 44% in Florida, 53% to 43% in Ohio and 54% to 42% in Pennsylvania, less than six weeks ahead of the November 6 vote.
Florida has the most electoral votes of any of the so-called swing states expected to decide the election, and no Republican has ever become president without winning Ohio.
Obama’s favorability rating in all three states was a comfortable 54%, while Romney’s was 41%.
Even worse for Romney, the poll found that more than 90% of voters in all three states have made up their minds, leaving a dwindling number of independents that could be swayed by more television ads or campaign events.
The survey was carried out September 18-24, in the aftermath of what was arguably the worst week of Romney’s quest for the White House.
The candidate faced a barrage of criticism — including from fellow conservatives — after a hasty statement accusing Obama of sympathizing with Islamist protesters hours after the US ambassador to Libya was killed.
A video surfaced days later showing Romney giving a speech to wealthy donors in which he said 47 percent of Americans were freeloaders who would vote for Obama in order to keep getting government handouts.
Romney will have a chance to stage a comeback next month when the candidates hold a series of televised debates, and the sluggish US economy or turmoil in the Middle East could yet weigh down on Obama’s re-election bid.
The survey was conducted by phone among nearly 1,200 likely voters in each of the three states, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.