New polls show President Barack Obama leading over Republican rival Mitt Romney in four states that could determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Obama's strong showing comes despite evidence that his recent immigration decision hurt him with voters.
Quinnipiac University's swing state poll shows Obama leading in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, though in Florida the results are within the margin of error. A new Old Dominion University/Virginian-Pilot poll shows Obama leading in Virginia.
"President Barack Obama has decent margins over Gov. Mitt Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania and a smaller advantage in Florida. If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through election day he would be virtually assured of re-election," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.
Obama leads Romney 45 to 41 percent in Florida, 47 to 38 in Ohio, 45 to 39 percent in Pennsylvania and 49 to 42 percent in Virginia. (Another Virginia poll this week, by We Ask America, which uses automated polling, showed Romney ahead, 48 to 43.3 percent.)
Obama's favorable poll numbers comes after what pundits widely view as a bad month for him.
The Obama campaign began the month by attacking Romney's record as a venture capitalist, which was denounced by several in his own party, including former President Bill Clinton. That was followed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers announcing concern and an investigation into national security leaks from the executive branch. And last week, a House committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not releasing documents related to the "Fast and Furious" investigation. A national poll released at the beginning of the month showed Romney closing the gap with Obama.
The Quinnipiac poll even shows that Obama's recent immigration decision hurt more than helped him with voters.
On June 15, Obama announced that the Justice Department would no longer deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors, have no criminal record, and have a high school diploma, G.E.D., or served in the military.
The poll shows this decision was popular in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Voters in those states favor the policy by 58, 52 and 51 percent, respectively. However, when asked how the decision would influence their vote, more people said it made them less likely to vote for Obama than said it made them more likely to vote for him.
In Florida, the margin was close. Twenty-two percent said they were less likely to vote for Obama, compared with 17 percent who said they were more likely. The difference was much larger, though, in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In those states, 27 percent of voters there said they were less likely to vote for Obama, compared to only 11 and 12 percent, respectively, who said they were more likely to vote for Obama.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted June 19-25. The sample sizes were 1,200 for Florida, 1,237 for Ohio and 1,252 in Pennsylvania. The margin of error for each state is plus or minus 2.8 percent.