Barack Obama is holding on to leads in the three major battleground states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — though Florida is too close to call and the other two have tightened, Qunnipiac University's new polling data report Wednesday.
Marist University polls, also released Wednesday, provide a similar snapshot for Pennsylvania, where Obama enjoys a comfortable lead, but shows Ohio much closer. (Marist didn't offer a Florida poll.)
No one has been elected president since 1960 without taking two of these states, Quinnipiac points out.
Florida: 47-45, compared to 49-44 last week.
Ohio: 51-42, compared to 52–38 last week.
Pennsylvania: 53–41, compared to 53–40 last week.
Significant point: Majorities in each state think Obama would make a "great" or "good" president; only a minority of voters had the same opinion of McCain.
Numbers: Florida, 51-47; Ohio, 52-43; Pennsylvania, 55-42.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said McCain has made up some ground among white voters, but that Obama is keeping it close enough among whites that he's still maintaining a lead in all three states. Enthusiasm and the dwindling number of voters who say they might change their minds work against McCain. "Time is running out for Senator John McCain," Brown said.
Men are backing McCain in all three states (FL, OH, PA): 49-44, 48-45, 49-46.
Women are backing Obama: 50-42, 55-36, 59-32.
Independents back Obama: 47-39, 50-38, 54-35.
Quinnipiac sees those trends holding Obama in good stead through Tuesday in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In Ohio, "He's only losing one in five Clinton voters and is within two points of Senator McCain among whites without college dgrees. That's a recipe for Obama success," Brown said. Pennsylvania "is consistently Obama blue down the home stretch, even with white voters only narrowly in his corner," said Clay Richards, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The expected big Obama win in Philly's southeast suburbs "should seal up Pennsylvania for Obama," Richards said.
Florida is a tougher battle for Obama. He's trailing by 18 points among white voters without college degrees, a group he's doing much better with in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that's going to keep Florida close.
As for the Marist numbers: Pennsylvania is Obama country, 52-39 among registered voters, 55-41 among likely voters. Obama holds the edge in favorable image, 59-50.
In Ohio, Obama's ahead, but not by much: 46-43 among registered voters, 48-45, among likely voters. Favorability rating also goes to Obama, but not by as much as in Pennsylvania: 56-51.