Mitt Romney has maintained a solid lead over President Barack Obama in the latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely voters who favor the Republican by six percentage points.
Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Romney’s crossover appeal is fueled by strong support in rural North Florida, a conservative bastion where a relatively high percentage of Democrats often vote Republican in presidential election years.
“I’m pretty convinced Romney’s going to win Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, who conducted the 800-likely voter survey from Tuesday through Thursday.
Romney is winning handily among men, marginally losing with women voters and has outsized support among non-Hispanic whites. He’s essentially winning on the issues as well: the economy, Medicare, foreign policy and looking out for the middle-class.
Coker noted the poll results are essentially unchanged from last month, when Romney led by a point more after he crushed Obama in their first debate.
The October poll and this one, which have error margins of 3.5 percent, were conducted for The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald as well as the Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13.
Although the latest survey shows Romney comfortably ahead 51-45 percent in Florida, the Republican can’t rest easy. Other polls show a tighter race, although they use a different method of polling than that of Mason-Dixon, a Florida-based firm.
Obama draws only 5 percent Republican support, but Romney draws 16 percent of the likely Democratic vote in the poll.
And Romney beats Obama with independents — the tie-breaker voters — by a six-point margin. That’s not necessarily a comfortable lead for Romney, who was ahead by 13 points last month among independents.
Romney jumped to an overall lead last month after the first presidential debate, in which Obama’s performance was so poor that even he joked about how bad he was.
Hispanic voters moved a total of seven points in Obama’s favor in a month, but he’s not carrying their vote with the double digits he probably needs because of his poor standing among non-Hispanic whites.
Romney is trusted more than Obama on handling the economy and leading the nation by the same amount: 53-44 percent.
By a 50-48 percent split, Romney’s trusted more to look out for the middle-class and he has another inside-the-error-margin lead over Obama of 49-47 percent when it comes to handling foreign policy.
Asked who would be worse for Medicare, 52 percent said Obama and 44 percent said Romney.
Obama’s campaign has dismissed the results of likely voter polls, such as this one, pointing to statistics that indicate they’re turning out so-called “sporadic” and new voters. In essence, they argue that likely voter polls miss their voters who, by definition, are unlikely.
But Coker said the poll was conducted with a registered voter list and “we’re not missing anybody based on our method.”
Also, the Romney campaign notes that most non-partisan polls show the Republican ahead in Florida and doing better among independents.
Source: The Miami Herald