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The New-Latest Swing-State Polls: Ohio A Toss Up; Florida To Obama

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After weeks of not getting a single poll from OH and FL, here is the third Ohio poll in two days -- and a reminder of how much indecision we should expect in polls as long as the race remains a toss-up:

  • Unlike PPP's 11% lead yesterday and Quinnipiac's 6% lead earlier today, Obama is slightly behind in Rasmussen's new poll, though well within the MoE: McCain gets 44% to his 43%, the same margin as the May poll. Obama gets 53% favorability rating against a high 47% (including 31% very unfavorable).

Unless (or until) the election becomes a blowout, it is unlikely that Ohio will ever clearly belong in one or the other camp. This is just a reminder that the election at this point in time remains tight in most of the states that will matter. Meanwhile, ARG released a general election poll from Florida that finds a similar result as Quinnipiac's:

  • Obama is leading 49% to 44%. Both candidates get under 80% from their own party.
  • In case of an Obama/Nelson-McCain/Crist match-up, the GOP ticket is ahead 43% to 42%.

Earlier today, the Quinnipiac survey was the first ever to find Obama leading McCain in the Sunshine state, meaning that the only surveys finding a Democratic advantage were released today. The GOP still has a slight edge in Florida -- Obama is under-organized here and this is a state that resisted the Democratic tsunami fairly well in 2006 -- but the fact that the Illinois Senator looks stronger than expected is a bad sign for McCain's hopes of putting this one away.

Also this evening, ARG released a survey from New Hampshire, another rarely polled state:

  • Obama leads 51% to 39%, including a 15% lead among independents.
  • In the Senate race, Jeanne Shaheen leads Senator Sununu 54% to 40%.
  • And no surprises in the gubernatorial race, as Governor Lynch crushes his minor opposition 65% to 21%.

It is difficult to know what to make of New Hampshire, a state that both candidates have reason to believe they can do well in. The state's large independent contingent swung dramatically towards the Democrats in 2006, a pattern that should at least somewhat hold this year. But New Hampshire has long been kind to McCain, saving him from the dead in 2008 and grant him an unlikely blowout victory against George Bush in 2000.

McCain won both of these contests based on his strength with independents and he hopes to win them over against Obama -- just as he did in on January 8th. Remember that more than expected independent voters chose to participate in the GOP primary instead of the Democratic one, allowing Clinton to upset Obama and McCain to distance Romney. But ARG's poll suggests that McCain's long relationship with New Hampshire and its independents could snap this year. This is one of the two Kerry states that Republicans believe they can pick-up the most (along with Michigan) and putting it away early would be great news for Obama.

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