Swing State Opinion
by Purple Strategies
Issue 209 – August 15, 2012
Voters’ views about the economy are the strongest predictors of their vote choice in so-called Purple or swing states – even more so than partisanship.
In our latest poll, we see no shift in President Obama’s performance against Mitt Romney. Today, Obama leads Romney 47% to 45% across the Purple States, the same 2-point lead as in June (48% to 46%).
The race is also steady among independents across these states. Romney retains a 5-point lead among this key swing constituency (47% to 42%), essentially unchanged from his 6-point lead in June. The gender gap also continues: Romney leads by 8 points among men (50% to 42%), while Obama leads by 11 among women (52% to 41%).
Voters’ concerns about the economy continue to loom large, and their outlook is becoming gloomier. Just 28% of voters believe that the economy is getting better, a decline of 8 points from April. Forty-two percent (42%) believe that the economy is getting worse, up 7 points from April.
The impact of voters’ perception of the economy on their presidential choice is dramatic. Among those who believe the economy is getting better, 93% support Obama, 4% favor Romney. And among those who say it is getting worse, Romney leads Obama 84% to 7%. Indeed, this question is now more predictive of vote choice than any other question we ask – including partisanship.
Ohio has moved from one side to the other and back in our recent polling. In April, we showed President Obama with a 5-point lead. Last month, Mitt Romney held a 3-point lead. And today, we show President Obama taking a 3-point lead in this critical state (48% to 45%). This edge is fueled by independents, among whom he leads by 7 points (47% to 40%), as well as women (52% to 40%). Importantly, Romney’s favorability level is low in Ohio – 37% have a favorable view, while a majority (50%) has an unfavorable view. President Obama’s job performance is also underwater there (46% positive/49% negative), but not to the same extent as Romney’s personal image.
Mitt Romney maintains a small but steady advantage in Florida, currently holding a 3-point lead over President Obama. He leads by a substantial margin among independents (51% to 41%).
Virginia – considered critical to both the Romney and Obama campaign – tilts slightly toward Obama at this stage (46% to 44%). Obama also has the slightest edge in Colorado (45% to 44%). Importantly, independent voters in both states lean toward Romney by 6 points.
With months of negative ads ahead of us, there’s plenty of room for movement on both sides.