Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by at least ten points in three crucial swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll. Obama leads Romney 53% to 44% in Florida, 54% to 42% in Pennsylvania, and 53% to 43% in Ohio. No one has been able to win the presidency without two of these three states since 1960, and no Republican has ever lost Ohio and won the presidency in the same election. While some of these poor numbers for Romney may have been impacted by Romney’s comment about the “47%”, the last time he led in any of these states in a Quinnipiac, New York Times, or CBS poll, was in Florida in early May when he led Obama 44% to 43%. Since that May 3, poll there has been a gradual shift in all of these states toward Obama's favor.
On individual issues, voters in these states — averaged together — trust Obama will do a better job on immigration than Romney (50% to 42%), international crises (54.3% to 40%), national security (53.3% to 41.6%), Medicare (55% to 39%), health care (54% to 40.6%), and the ever-important economy (51% to 45%). Romney ties or slightly leads Obama on whether he is better suited to deal with the budget deficit.
The shift toward trusting Obama with the economy over Romney is especially troubling for the Republican nominee since this has been the issue he has been himself has been saying is the most important the entire election. In these swing states, 48% of likely voters say the economy is the most important issue, while only 11% of likely voters in think the budget deficit is the most important issue.
As a yawning gap begins to open up between the two candidates in these key battleground, states many are wondering whether Romney has any tricks up his sleeve that could salvage his foundering campaign. His pick of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate probably did him some good with budget deficit hawks, but it is very unlikely there are enough of them to enable Romney to win the White House. The only other “tricks” up Romney’s sleeve have been awkward gaffes and confusing statements.
It remains to be seen whether the debates can bring him something better. Of course, the actual issues only matter so much in an election. Asked whether or not Romney actually “cares about the needs and problems of people like you,” only 39% respondents in the aforementioned swing states said yes, compared with 59% for Obama.