Survey USA poll puts Obama up 4 in Florida

We’ve looked at polling from a pretty skeptical point of view after the convention, but not every poll has hidden good news for Republicans.  Yesterday’s Survey USA poll in the key swing state of Florida is one example.  A survey taken over the weekend showed Barack Obama riding a little post-convention bounce — and the incumbent Senator with a wide lead over his Republican challenger:

In pivotal Florida, Barack Obama comes out of the Democratic National Convention 4 points atop Mitt Romney, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WFLA-TV in Tampa. Romney leads among Florida’s white voters, but that lead is erased by Florida’s minorities: Obama leads by 16 points among Cubans, by 36 points among non-Cuban Hispanics, and by 67 points among African Americans.

Romney leads by 5 points among men, but that is trumped by Obama’s 12 point lead among women. Romney leads in Northwest, Northeast and Southwest Florida, but that advantage is overcome by Obama’s strength in Southeast Florida, and Obama’s comparative strong standing in critical Central FL, where Obama today leads by 6. Romney leads among voters age 50+, but Obama leads by even more among voters age 18 to 49. Party affiliation cancels itself out: Romney holds 84% of Republicans, Obama holds 84% of Democrats, Independents split. Obama leads among those earning less than $80,000 a year, Romney leads among those earning more than $80,000 a year.

Compared to a SurveyUSA poll 8 weeks ago, conducted at a time when Obama attack ads about Bain Capital were airing unanswered, there is effectively no change in the race. Then, Obama led by 5 points. Now, Obama leads by 4 points, a nominal 1-point difference. Obama today has a Plus 1 Net Favorability, Romney has a Minus 2 Net Favorability.

In the contest for United States Senator, Democrat Bill Nelson is in dramatically better shape than he was when SurveyUSA last polled the contest 8 weeks ago. Then, Republican Connie Mack led Nelson by 6 points. Today, Nelson leads Mack by 11, a 17-point left turn. The change is particularly dramatic in Central FL, where, 8 weeks ago, Mack led by 5, now trails by 15, a 20-point swing. Among Independents, Mack had led by 4, now trails by 14, an 18-point swing.

The sample data suggests that the race between Obama and Romney might be a bit closer than the already-close figure.  The poll has a D/R/I of 41/36/23, which compares to 2008’s 37/34/29 and 2010’s 36/36/29 exit polling.  In 2008, Obama won Florida independents by 7 points on the way to a 3-point victory, 51/48.  In this poll, Obama still leads independents, but only within the MOE at 41/39.  Recalculated, that would tend to draw the two opponents into a tie, since it’s unlikely that we’ll see a better Democratic turnout in Florida this year than in 2008.  It still doesn’t put Romney ahead — although the very low 41% for Obama among independents suggests that many late breakers won’t be inclined to go in his direction, as late breakers usually come on strong for the non-incumbent.

The age demos are even more intriguing than independents.  Survey USA has four age demos, and their sample breaks almost evenly across them:

  • 18-34: 24% of the sample
  • 35-49: 26%
  • 50-64: 26%
  • 65+: 24%

Those don’t reflect the breakdowns in exit polling from the last two electoral cycles, however.  The exit polls break out age demos differently, but it’s not difficult to see how far off this sample is from the 2008 race:

  • 18-29: 15%
  • 30-44: 25%
  • 45-64: 37%
  • 65+: 22%

Romney only wins the senior vote outright at 55/41, though he edges Obama among 50-64YOs 47/46.  This poll seems to oversample younger voters by a wide margin, where Obama wins 54-37.

Still, this doesn’t look like very good news when one considers the effort by the GOP to woo the Sunshine State by holding the convention in Tampa.  The eleven-point lead by Bill Nelson over Connie Mack also looks like bad news for GOP efforts in the state, especially with Mack only getting 29% of independents so far.  Nelson’s vulnerable at 47%, but Mack has a long way to go to catch up and not too much time to do it.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen shows the national convention bump for Obama almost entirely dissipated:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows President Obama attracting support from 46% of voters nationwide, while Mitt Romney earns 45% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

The president received a modest convention bounce, but that’s now gone. On the day the conventions began, Obama was up by two points. Now the numbers are essentially back to that starting point with the president leading by a point. See daily tracking history.

When “leaners” are included, it’s Romney 48% and Obama 47%. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either candidate but express a preference for one of them in a follow-up question.

Since I’m an optimist, I’ll finish with this look at running-mate polling from The Hill.  Romney’s choice seems to be winning more plaudits than the status-quo candidate:

Paul Ryan has had a higher favorability rating than Vice President Biden in every major nonpartisan national poll since the Wisconsin lawmaker was picked for the GOP vice presidential slot.

In these polls, Ryan averaged a likability factor 7.5 percentage points higher than Biden, and he even bested President Obama’s favorability rating four out of six times. …

In CNN’s most recent poll, 49 percent of likely voters had a favorable opinion of Ryan while just 38 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Meanwhile, Biden earned favorable reviews from 46 percent of likely voters and unfavorable reviews from 47 percent. That means Ryan’s overall favorable rating was 12 points higher.

Among independents, the gap was stunning, as Ryan’s favorability rating stood 33 points higher than Biden’s. Lest you think that’s an outlier, a Fox News survey showed a 30-point gap between Ryan and Biden with independents.

The gap is even more notable considering that Ryan’s standing actually improved dramatically since the days when he was first selected as Romney’s running mate, reversing a common pattern of a vice-presidential nominee getting less popular as voters dig deeper into his or her record.

For example, one week after being selected, a CNN poll found Ryan’s favorability rating just 7 points higher than Biden’s — and among independents, just 10 points higher; whereas a week and a half later, that gap stood at 10 points and 33 points higher, respectively.

Let’s hope that starts impacting the race soon.