Mitt Romney has a slim 1-point lead on President Barack Obama in a new NPR battleground poll, an astounding 8-point swing from a month ago that puts the Republican nominee in good position heading into the final week of the campaign. The poll continues a theme that has made Republicans bullish lately — Romney is scoring big with self-identified Independent voters.
Romney holds a 12-point overall lead among Independents in the poll, but more importantly, he holds a big advantage in favorability ratings among the group. Romney is rated favourably by 54 per cent of Independents in the poll, compared with just 40 per cent who view him favourably.
Comparatively, Obama’s favorability rating among Independents sits at just 43 per cent, compared with 53 per cent who view him unfavorably.
The difference between vice presidential candidates, though not as important, is even more staggering. Paul Ryan has a 52-38 positive-to-negative favorability score. Vice President Joe Biden’s stands at only 39-53. Combined, that’s a 28-point difference.
The same caveats apply to this poll as the recent spate of polling that has shown Independents heavily leaning toward Romney.
As a comparatively small sample, Independent sampling can be volatile and have a much higher margin of error than the poll as a whole. And more self-identified Independents could be Republican leaners. Still, they were a group that provided Obama with a major strength in 2008, so their shift is significant.
The rest of the poll contains mixed news for both the president and Romney. The Republican nominee has seemingly solidified his economic advantage. He has shifted trust in handling the issue 8 points in his favour over the last month. He also leads in trust on the federal budget deficit and on taxes. Obama, on the other hand, earns more credibility on Medicare, health care in general, and foreign policy.
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