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Poll shows Obama tops Romney in 3 key states
No one has won the White House since 1960 without carrying at least two of the three states surveyed in this poll.
WASHINGTON — President Obama holds an edge over presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the election battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll shows.
Obama leads Romney by 9 percentage points in Ohio, 6 points in Pennsylvania and 4 points in Florida, according to the June 19-25 "swing-state" survey released Wednesday. Obama has gained ground in Ohio and Florida while his lead in Pennsylvania diminished slightly, compared with a comparable Quinnipiac poll released on May 3.
No one has won the White House since 1960 without carrying at least two of the three states surveyed in this poll; Obama won all of them in 2008.
The three states combined hold 67 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
A move by Obama to stop deportations of some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children helped win over voters, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The president holds almost a 2-1 lead among Hispanic voters in Florida, the poll found.
In Florida, Obama leads Romney 45 to 41 percent, the poll showed. In the swing-state poll released May 3, the president led by 1 point, meaning the race in the state was a virtual dead heat.
In a June 12-18 poll by Quinnipiac solely of Florida voters — in which Obama also led overall by 4 percentage points — the president had a 10-point edge over Romney among Hispanics surveyed, 49 to 39 percent. In the latest poll, Obama's lead over Romney among this bloc has grown to 24 points, 56 to 32 percent.
Voters in the other two states in the poll were also supportive, backing the policy 52 to 38 percent in Ohio and 51 to 41 percent in Pennsylvania.
In Ohio overall, Obama leads Romney 47 to 38 percent, the poll showed. In the May 3 swing-state poll, Obama was up 44 to 42 percent.
The president benefits from positive views about him among Ohio voters — 50 percent rate him favorably, compared with 44 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of him. By comparison, 32 percent of Ohio voters say they view Romney favorably, while 46 percent don't.
While Democrats and Republicans in the state allied overwhelmingly with their party's candidate, independent voters backed Obama 45 to 36 percent.
"The president's lead is largely due to his lead among independent voters, the group that usually decides Ohio elections," Brown said.
In Pennsylvania, Obama leads 45 to 39 percent in the latest poll; in the survey released May 3 he was backed by 47 percent to Romney's 39 percent. Obama has a 12-point edge with women voters in the state in the latest poll.
In all three states, Obama is holding his own against Romney on the handling of the economy — the central argument the Republican has made for replacing the president.
In Ohio, voters back Obama 47 to 42 percent when asked whether he or Romney would do a better job on the economy. In Pennsylvania, voters tie on this question — 44 percent for each — while in Florida, Romney has a slight edge, 46 percent to 44 percent for Obama.
"For much of last year, more voters in these swing states have said Romney would do a better job on the economy," Brown said. "That advantage has largely disappeared."
Ohio has been carried by the winner of every presidential election since 1964, and Florida sided with a loser only once over that period — in 1992, when it backed then-President George H.W. Bush over Democrat Bill Clinton. Pennsylvania has been reliably Democratic in presidential races since the 1992 vote.
The poll's margin of error in each state is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,200 voters in Florida, 1,237 in Ohio and 1,252 in Pennsylvania.
Victory for Florida
in voting case
MIAMI — A federal judge Wednesday rebuffed the Department of Justice's emergency request to stop Florida's attempt to remove people who are not U.S. citizens from its voter-registration rolls.
Judge Robert Hinkle of U.S. District Court in Tallahassee said federal laws did not bar the state from identifying and removing ineligible voters from its rolls, although the Aug. 14 primary is less than 90 days away. The laws, Hinkle said, are to block the removal of legitimate voters, not illegitimate ones.
But Hinkle, who delivered his ruling from the bench, chastised the state for its cavalier handling of the matter.
"Determining citizenship is not as easy as the state would have it," Hinkle said, according to the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida. "Questioning someone's citizenship isn't as trivial as the state would have it."
Still, ineligible voters should not be allowed to vote, he said because it can cause "irreparable harm" to legitimate voters.
"People need to know we are running an honest election," added Hinkle, according to The Associated Press.
Wednesday's ruling lets the suit move forward.
Gov. Rick Scott, who pushed for the review of voter rolls for noncitizens, hailed the ruling as a "common-sense decision."
A lawyer for the state said in court that the broad review of potential noncitizen voters would stop until Florida's election officials had more reliable data on citizenship status.
The review began after Florida's department of elections compared voter registration rolls to a state driver's license database to come up with a list of names of potential noncitizens.
The master list contained 182,000 names of potential noncitizens.
The state forwarded an initial roster of 2,600 names to independent county election supervisors, asking them to send letters to voters requesting proof of citizenship. If no proof was provided, the voters would be dropped from the rolls. The state would then send more names.
But the list was flawed; many voters on the list who had been contacted came forward to say they were either born in America or were naturalized citizens.
County election supervisors quickly grew critical of the list, saying more accurate information was needed. Soon, advocates for voters and minorities began to complain, saying the voter scrub was unjust.