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The 2012 Vote

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Romney Gains Big in Swing State Polls After Debate Triumph

October 11th 2012

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney gaining in three key swing states one week after his strong debate performance, according to a new poll released late Wednesday. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show Romney and President Obama in a statistical tie in Virginia and Florida with Obama holding a slight edge in Ohio, a third major battleground.

In Virginia, Romney now leads the president with 48-47 percent, a 3-point shift from the same poll released last week on the day of the debate. In Florida, Obama is holding on to his pre-debate, 1-point edge. Obama won 48 percent support in the new poll compared to 47 percent for Romney. In last week's poll, Obama had a 47-46 percent edge.

Among likely Ohio voters, Obama still leads Romney 51-45 percent, but the new figures show a 2-point bounce for the GOP challenger. Last week Romney trailed in the state 51-43 percent. The NBC/WSJ/Marist numbers are the latest in a slew of polls showing Romney enjoying a bounce post-debate, with a Gallup tracking survey of likely voters earlier this wek showing him leading nationally for the first time. A Pew Research poll also found Romney up nationally by four points.

Obama and Romney will debate twice more before Election Day. Vice President Biden and GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will debate Thursday night. In all three states surveyed by NBC/WSJ/Marist, Romney has gained in favorability and among independents.  In Virginia, Obama and Romney had been deadlocked among independents, who now break for Romney 50 to 42 percent. In Ohio, Romney was down among independents 47-43 percent, but now leads among the key group with 49 percent support to Obama's 41 percent.

Romney’s favorability score also rose to 49 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable in Florida, up from a 46-43 net favorable last week. The GOP nominee is still underwater in Virginia with 44 percent favorable and 50 unfavorable, but that also shows improvement from last week’s 42 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable in the state. Romney gained in Ohio as well where 44 percent of likely voters view him favorably, up from 42 last week. Romney is still underwater, though, at 50 percent unfavorable in Ohio.

Obama's campaign may find some relief from the fact that he is still viewed more favorably in all three states, with a 52-43 favorable rating in Florida, 51-45 in Virginia and 51-44 in Ohio. Obama’s job approval rating is also net positive in all three states. 48 percent of Florida voters approve of Obama to 46 percent who disapprove. Forty-nine percent of Ohio voters approve of Obama compared to 46 percent who disapprove, while in Virginia Obama wins approval from 48 percent while 47 percent disapprove.

The poll finds that Romney’s debate showing has helped him among those who had not decided which candidate to back before the debate. But many voters had already picked a candidate to support. Only 6 percent of likely voters in Florida and 7 percent in Ohio and Virginia said they decided on a candidate after the debate. In Ohio, voters who had already cast ballots said they backed Obama by a 63-37 percent margin. Those yet to vote favor Obama by 48 to 46 percent. The polls were conducted from Oct. 7 to 9 and have a 3-point margin of error.

Meghashyam Mali writes for The Hill, from where this article was adapated.

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