Republican nominee Mitt Romney is closing the gap in the two virtual must-win swing states of Florida and Virginia, trailing President Barack Obama by a statistically insignificant amount in both states. New Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist polls of the states put Romney down just 1 percentage point in Florida and down 2 points in Virginia. That’s an improvement from last month, when he trailed by 5 points in each of the states. It also continues a trend in Virginia, where a Suffolk poll last week found a similar 2-point Obama advantage.
The polls also give Obama a bigger lead than last month in Ohio — he is up 8 points — which makes winning Virginia and Florida a necessity for Romney.
Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, attributed the swing to a fading convention bounce for Obama.
“The polling in September was right after the conventions,” Miringoff told NBC. “We may be seeing a dissipation in some of that post-convention bounce that [Obama] enjoyed.”
The key points from the polls:
- As Obama continues to face criticism on the aftermath of attacks on the U.S. mission in Libya, Romney is making small inroads on the issue of foreign policy. In each state, Obama has 9-point leads on handling foreign policy. But that’s much slimmer than 13- and 15-point leads in Virginia and Florida last month.
- Obama’s approval rating remains underwater in both states at 48 per cent. This is especially significant in Florida, where he had hit 50 per cent last month.
- By a the same, significant 11-point margin, more voters think the country is on the wrong track.
- A big number for Obama in Florida: 48 per cent of likely voters choose him on handling Medicare, compared with 43 per cent for Romney.
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