The fight over key swing states remains extremely close, according to a new Purple Strategies poll of likely voters. The data largely confirms findings from USA Today/Gallup last week, which indicated that President Obama has a small edge in several of these states -- but the dynamics are extremely close and fluid. A look at some of the key numbers:
(1) Mitt Romney holds a very narrow one-point lead in Florida, at 48/47. A new Miami Herald poll also shows the race tied, with Romney pulling even on the Medicare issue, and most Floridians saying they're worse off than they were four years ago.
(2) The race is within the survey's three-point margin of error in several states, including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado.
(3) Obama is ahead by four points in Ohio, where Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are set to begin a multi-stop bus tour this week.
(4) Romney's favorability has taken a significant hit in recent weeks (now 14 points upside-down overall), a trend his campaign will have to reverse to pull of a victory.
(5) In all six of the poll's highlighted states, President Obama's job approval rating is underwater. His disapproval rating is at 50 percent or higher in three of them.
(6) Obama has not hit the magic 50 percent threhold in any of these states, despite enjoying small leads in four of them. The portion of voters who say they may still change their minds ranges from six to nine percent.
The Republican nominee has endured several difficult weeks of negative news coverage, both somewhat fairly and entirely unfairly. He has weathered that storm and remains in a position to win this race, as the major national tracking polls continue to show the contest in a virtual dead heat. He does, however, need to build momentum over the coming six weeks. One additional interesting note: The Romney campaign has blasted out a new Pittsburgh Tribune-Review poll indicating that Romney is within two points of Obama (47/45) in Pennsylvania. I'm skeptical. Most polling has shown Obama leading much more comfortably in the Keystone State. This also reminds me of a trend in recent presidential cycles, wherein an outlier poll or two gives Republicans hope that the state is very competitive when it's really not.
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