The Washington Times - August 1, 2012, 07:52AM

President Barack Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by a significant margin in three key battleground states, according to a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll.

Including voters leaning toward a candidate, Mr. Obama holds a six-point lead in both Florida and Ohio and an 11-point lead in Pennsylvania.


In Florida, 51 percent of likely voters favor Mr. Obama, compared to 45 percent who lean toward Mr. Romney. In Ohio, Mr. Obama holds a 50 percent to 44 percent advantage, and in Pennsylvania, he holds a 53 percent to 42 percent lead.

Mr. Obama is also viewed more positively by the voters in each state, with at least 50 percent holding a favorable opinion of him. Mr. Romney, meanwhile, was underwater on favorability in all three, performing the worst in Pennsylvania. Thirty-nine percent of voters in the Keystone state hold a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor, compared to 47 percent with an unfavorable one.

Voters supporting Mr. Romney in all three states also appear to be more likely to back him because they dislike Mr. Obama, rather than vice versa.

Nearly two-thirds of Mr. Obama’s supporters in Florida say they strongly favor their candidate, compared to 14 percent who support him because they dislike Mr. Romney. Meanwhile, 49 percent of Mr. Romney’s backers strongly favor him, with 19 percent supporting him because they dislike Mr. Obama.

Six in 10 Obama voters in Ohio voters strongly support the president while 9 percent support him because of their dislike for Mr. Romney. Forty-two percent of Romney supporters strongly favor their candidate, and more the one-fifth support him because they do not like the president.

In Pennsylvania, 59 percent of Mr. Obama’s supporters back him strongly and 7 percent support him because of their distaste for Mr. Romney. Meanwhile, 41 percent of Romney backers favor him strongly, and 22 percent favor him because of their dislike of Mr. Obama.

While the numbers on their face appear favorable for Mr. Obama, there was also a greater sample size of Democrats in the poll. Thirty-six percent of Florida voters identified themselves generally as Democrats, compared to 27 percent Republicans and 32 percent independents. The split was nearly identical in Ohio, with 35 percent saying they were Democrats, 27 percent Republicans, and 32 percent independents. In Pennsylvania, 38 percent considered themselves Democrats, 32 percent Republicans, and 26 percent independents.

Voters were also rather evenly split on which candidate would do a better job on the economy — overwhelmingly the most important issue for voters in all three states. But they strongly support Mr. Obama’s plan to raise taxes on households making more than $250,000 in order to reduce the federal deficit. Sixty-two percent of Pennsylvania voters support the plan, compared to 60 percent in Ohio and 58 percent in Florida.

The polls were conducted by land line and cell phones from July 24 through July 30 among 1,193 likely voters in Ohio, 1,168 likely voters in Florida, and 1,168 likely voters in Pennsylvania.