Don’t look now but Mitt Romney is ahead in Florida poll by 7 points over Obama.
After a terrible Presidential debate and a fantastic one by Mitt Romney, the GOP Presidential candidate Romney has a 51% to 44% lead among likely voters in Florida in Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll. Romney was preferred by the voters on who was better served to improve the economy, to who will protect Medicare, to looking out for the middle-class, and handling foreign policy. Could it be true? Are the voters really abandoning Obama and breaking to Romney?
The survey conducted this week found 51 percent of likely Florida voters supporting Romney, 44 percent backing Obama and 4 percent undecided. That’s a major shift from a month ago when the same poll showed Obama leading 48 percent to 47 percent — and a direct result of what Obama himself called a “bad night” at the first debate.
The debate prompted 5 percent of previously undecided voters and 2 percent of Obama backers to move to Romney. Another 2 percent of Obama supporters said they are now undecided because of the debate.
Across the board, Romney smoked Obama with pretty much every voting block including Independents and even Hispanics. While Obama lost major ground with women as well.
Take Tampa Bay, the battleground region that invariably mirrors statewide results. A month ago, Obama had a 4 percentage point lead in Tampa Bay. This week, Romney led by 8 percent, 52 to 44. In Central Florida, Romney now leads by 6 points.
Likewise, Obama’s lead among likely women voters in Florida fell from 15 percentage points last month to just 2 points, 49 percent for Obama and 47 percent for Romney.
Obama’s once 11 point lead among likely independent voters had cascaded into a 13 point lead for Romney this week, 52 percent to 39 percent.
The poll found little change among Florida youngest voters, 18-34, or oldest voters, 65 and up. But those ages 35 to 64, who had been evenly divided a month ago, moved dramatically to the Republican nominee. Romney now has a nine point lead among voters age 35-49 and a 15 point lead among those between 50 and 64.
Especially ominous were the numbers for Hispanic voters, a demographic where the Obama campaign is banking on an advantage of at least 15 percentage points. The poll showed 44 percent of likely Hispanic voters favoring Obama and 46 for Romney, though the margin of error is higher with that smaller group of voters.