Key takeaways from today’s Quinnipiac poll of Florida showing Obama 48%, Romney 47%

By on October 31, 2012

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney, 48% to 47%.

I went inside the crosstabs of the poll and found these instant key takeaways.

It’s very difficult to put much stock in this poll since it is predicated on the assumption that Democrats will have an 8% turnout advantage of Republicans. In 2008, a near-wave election, Democrats had just a 3% advantage. I just cannot believe Romney underperforms versus McCain.

If you do believe in this assumption, then yes, this is a strong poll for Obama and it is consistent with the last survey from Public Policy Polling, which also showed a one-point lead for Obama.

But, as Christian Heinze notes, if Democratic turnout advantage is at the 2008 margins or less, then Romney has a solid edge in the state.

Like Heinze, I am also weary of Quinnipiac’s approval rating for Obama, which is at 49% approve/48% disapprove — that’s higher, not a lot higher, just higher than what other recent surveys have shown. Of course, it’s not the mythical 50% approval rate incumbents hope to see when running for re-election.

If you drill deep enough into Quinnipiac’s press release, you’ll see that Obama is leading among those who say they have voted early, 50% to 44%.  After everything is said and done with Election 2012, I believe there will be a lot of egg on pollsters’ faces about the disconnect between the early voting numbers and the actual numbers. Obama is up six points in a state with nearly identical partisan participation in absentee and early voting? Something doesn’t jive there.

Looking at this poll from the Romney perspective, here are some of the numbers which should concern Boston:

Romney is narrowly winning the question of who is better on the economy, 49% to 47%. That’s too-close-for-comfort on this issue Romney should be strongest.

Obama has retaken a small lead on favorability, with 51% to 46% viewing him favorably and 48% to 47% viewing Romney favorably. In other words, the impact of the first debate has finally receded.

Of course, Obama wins on education and foreign policy, but he also wins on helping the middle class, 51% to 44%, Medicare, 50% to 44% and even on taxes, 48%-47%, although Romney wins on solving the deficit, 53% to 40%.

If there is a silver lining for Romney in the issues numbers, it’s that a clear margin of voters view him as the more bipartisan figure, 50% to 41%.

Anecdotally, I hear this argument the most from my indy friends why they may vote for Romney; that Obama is too divisive a figure. It’s a specious argument, but it’s really the only one left for Romney.

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