Second straight poll suggests tight race in Pennsylvania
October 16th, 2012
08:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Second straight poll suggests tight race in Pennsylvania

Hempstead, New York (CNN) - Hours before the second presidential debate Tuesday, a new poll indicates a close contest between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning, 50% of likely voters in the Keystone State say they are backing the president, with 46% supporting Romney. Obama's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error.

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The Quinnipiac survey is the second straight poll in 24 hours to indicate Obama with a four point edge in Pennsylvania. A Muhlenberg College poll released Monday had Obama at 49% and Romney at 45% among likely voters in the state.

It was a different story last month, prior to the first presidential debate. The president had a 12 point lead over the former Massachusetts governor in Quinnipiac's late September poll. And he had a seven point advantage in Muhlenberg's survey and a nine point lead in a poll from Franklin and Marshall.

The new Quinnipiac poll indicates the gender gap continues, with Obama up 19 points among women and Romney ahead by nine points among men. According to the survey, Romney has a 13 point lead among white Catholic voters.

"Gov. Mitt Romney is coming on strong in the Keystone State, especially among white Catholics," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

By a 42%-37% margin, the poll indicates Pennsylvania-born Vice President Joe Biden won last week's debate over Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP running mate. But more than six in ten say the vice presidential showdown doesn't affect their vote for the White House.

"Pennsylvania voters say Vice President Joseph Biden, a native son and a Catholic, won the debate and is more qualified than U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be president. But that doesn't seem to be lifting the top of the ticket," Malloy said.

George H.W. Bush's 1988 victory in the state was the last time a Republican carried Pennsylvania in a presidential election. But the state remained competitive in the resulting cycles, until four years ago, when then-Sen. Obama eventually ended up carrying Pennsylvania by 10 points over Sen. John McCain. But two years ago, the GOP enjoyed a strong showing in the midterm elections, winning back the governor's office, a Senate seat and five House seats from the Democrats.

In the state's U.S. Senate race, the survey indicates Democratic incumbent Sen. Robert Casey Jr. with the support of 48% of likely voters and Republican challenger Tom Smith, a businessman, at 45%.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted October 12-14, with 1,519 likely voters in Pennsylvania questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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– Largely hidden away, Obama reports debate prep 'going great'


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Ed1

    This shouldn't be a tight race if people would get their heads out of their butts and see Obama has not and will never be a President for the people with all of his failed economic policies and no leadership skills.

    Look at his record and not his race people time to wake up this Country can't take another four years of Obama.

    October 16, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Some Republicans are using racism and hate against President Obama which has nothing to do with who the next President will be but thank God for the Millions of Americans who don't support that kind of ignorance, we don't need that in America and Romney should denounce it.

    October 16, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  3. Cas Lee

    October 15, 2012
    Hello, my fellow American voters!
    I watched the Oct. 3rd presidential and Oct. 11th vice-presidential debates.
    Romney-Obama debate covered 7 topics: jobs; budget deficit/debt; social security/entitlements; federal regulation of economy; healthcare; federal government role in economy; partisan gridlock.
    Ryan-Biden debate covered 10 topics: Libya; Iran; economy; medicare/social security/entitlements; taxes/tax reform/spending/budget cuts; military policy; Afghanistan; Syria; abortion; negative campaign tactics.
    As an INDEPENDENT, I support the Romney/Ryan ticket.
    Romney and Ryan won both debates.
    Ryan won despite Biden’s consistently rude/disrespectful behavior during the debate.
    Biden’s tactics to evade issues/truth were disrespectful to Americans interested in facts, figures, forecasts, and solutions for real people with real problems.
    Biden interrupted Ryan often, laughed often while Ryan was talking, and pointed his finger often.
    Romney and Ryan won with substance, integrity, respect, clarity, facts, commitment, inspiration, and leadership. But these debates are NOT about who wins but rather about who is the best person in terms of qualifications/character to lead our country to solve problems and make life better for all Americans.
    I am inspired by Romney/Ryan, and I hope that you are too!
    Best regards,
    Cas Lee

    October 16, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. onlyfacts

    The gap closing between poll numbers only tells Romney, the lies are working. Why would he stop lying if he can get away with it. This debate is going to be interesting. The only person who can call Romney out is Obama, in real time. Just like Biden did when he looked in the camera and asked seniors if their Medicare costs had increased. Every senior had to know Ryan's statement was not true. It all comes down to Obama playing hardball.

    October 16, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Elton John

    One in six Americans are now living in poverty

    17,000,000 new food stamp recipients

    Forty two straight weeks of eight percent employment

    A $16,000,000,000 mountain of debt that is growing

    We can not afford another four years of the "empty chair" president!

    October 16, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. jinx88

    I wonder why CNN will not do an article on Sensata, the company owned by Bain that just shipped 170 jobs over to China? I think it would be good to let the America people know that Mittens receive money every time Bain send jobs to China. Mittens has the nerve to say we should crack down on China, what a joke. I hope this comes up in the debate tonight.

    October 16, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Mitt Romney needs to show his Ten years taxes. Just an idiot of Bain-Capital., shipped jobs to CHINA. I call him
    Mr. China.

    October 16, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    The gop is clearly tryn to rig the elections and their will be big trouble if they are successful,anybody that votes for them is just plain stupid ,the gop goofball party trashed the whole economy only five years ago ????

    October 16, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. Namesam omodiale

    obama will win d debate.

    October 16, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Hopefully the people of Penn wake up before they put the gop that trashed the economy only five years ago and will trash their soc sec and Medicare that the already paid for back to loot the country again , wake up people!!!!!!

    October 16, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. jose nelson

    Obama he is the best tonight

    October 16, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is getting a good performance from Obama and his campaign doing a great get-out-the-vote program is the best way for Obama to win the commonwealth. It sounds like Romney is doing a good job of saying many things to get elected.

    October 16, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. RogueRobots

    Supporters of President Obama in PA cannot afford to sit this one out. Do not allow one bad debate performance sway you. Watch the two remaining debates before you allow you vote to be swayed by performance style over substance. Know that President Obama has worked hard despite being deliberately blocked at every turn by the Republican House to get this economy going again after the policies of Bush and the Republicans drove us to the edge of a depression in order to benefit the wealthy. It took FDR 4 terms to bring us out of a depression, but Pres. OBAMA is expected to do it in less than 1 term? How is that logical? The economy has clearly gotten better under Obama's leadership as the stock market is up and the jobs market is steadily improving. Do not reward the Republicans who drove us into the pit of despair and allow them to take credit for the recovery which they have clearly tried to block in order to make Obama a one term president. VOTE IN PA FOR OBAMA 2012.

    October 16, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. n

    Another poll of lies . . . just stop it already.

    October 16, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. Radeckd

    "Romney has a 13 point lead among white Catholic voters" How about we point out Obama's lead among Black voters??? 95% or more?

    October 16, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. tammyk tammy

    Democratic supporters in PA cannot afford to be complacent and must get motivated to get out the vote. Young voters especially must educate themselves on the issues of education and healthcare that affect them. President Obama and the Democrats have fought hard to keep higher education affordable and available to you. If you are 26 or younger, the President has made it possible for you to stay on your parents health plan. I didn't have that luxury and neither did my best friend who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma when she was 20. It was a huge financial burden for her parents to buy her Cobra coverage. Today she would be covered under Obamacare. Romney now states that he supports that provision, yet Republicans have done nothing for decades to address healthcare – except vote to block it as they support the profits for big insurance. You may be healthy today, but do you really want to take the risk that Obamacare will be repealed by Romney? Democracy is not a spectator sport. VOTE OBAMA 2012.

    October 16, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |