As President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney prepare to square off for their first debate Wednesday night, the race in Florida has tightened, according to a new round of NBC News/Marist/Wall Street Journal polls.
In Florida, Obama leads 47 percent to 46 percent, down from 49 percent to 45 percent in mid-September.
Romney’s image is in better shape in Florida than anywhere else — 46 percent view him positively, while 43 percent view him unfavorably. That may not seem like much, but that three-point, net-positive score is Romney’s best in any of the nine battleground states tested in the NBC/Marist/WSJ polls following the political conventions.
The movement in Florida came from independents. Both parties are locked in, but in this survey, independents broke for Romney 47 percent to 41 percent. Three weeks ago, Obama led with them 48 percent to 41 percent.
As the candidates and the country look to first of three presidential debates Wednesday night, it’s worth noting that within this poll, there was a very low number of undecided or persuadable voters – something reflected nationally and in other swing-state surveys as well.
“Typically debates are aimed at winning undecided voters,” Miringoff said.
But there may not be many voters left to sway.
Still, for Obama, solid debate performances could “cement” his lead in these states, Miringoff said.
“For the challenger,” he added, “it’s always the second chance to make a first impression.”