October 19th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Close contest for Florida's 29 electoral votes

(CNN) - Three days before the final presidential debate, a new survey in the biggest of the battleground states indicates the race for the White House is basically tied.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday, entirely after the second presidential debate, 49% of likely voters in Florida say they support Republican nominee Mitt Romney, with 48% backing President Barack Obama. Romney's one point margin is well within the survey's sampling error.

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Monday, the final president debate, which will focus on international issues, will be held in Boca Raton, Florida.

"Generational and income difference are the two main factors in the Sunshine State, with President Obama holding double-digit leads among younger and less affluent voters and Mitt Romney piling up big margins among older and higher-income voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

With female voters and women's issues in the national spotlight this last week, the survey indicates the gender gap in Florida is much smaller than the generational divide or the income gap. The president has a narrow 49%-47% edge among women voters, with Romney holding a 50%-46% edge among men.

"This suggests that in Florida women are voting more on the basis of pocketbook concerns and issues that split young and old throughout the country," adds Holland.

According to the poll, the president and the former Massachusetts governor are tied among two key swing groups: Independent voters and suburban voters.

As always, keep in mind that the poll does not, and cannot, predict the outcome of the election in November. The survey indicates that one in twelve likely Florida voters say they could change their minds between now and Election Day, more than enough to affect a one-point race.

President George W. Bush won Florida in his 2004 re-election, but Obama narrowly captured the state in his 2008 victory over Sen. John McCain. This cycle Florida, where 29 electoral votes are up for grabs, has been getting tons of attention during the general election, with the candidates making frequent visits to the Sunshine State. The poll's release come just a few hours before Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP running mate, team up for a rally in Daytona Beach. And it comes as Vice President Joe Biden makes a two day swing through the state.

The Obama and Romney campaigns are also spending big bucks on get out the vote efforts and to run television commercials in the state. The two presidential campaigns, the party committees, and the super PACs and other independent groups supporting the candidate, have shelled out more than $125 million to run ads on broadcast TV in Florida. That's according to data provided to its clients by Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), which tracks campaign advertising. Twelve million of that spending has come just in the last week.

Three non-partisan, live operator polls of likely voters were conducted in Florida after the first presidential debate and before the second showdown. A CNN Poll of Polls which averaged all three surveys indicated Romney at 49% and Obama at 46%.

With third party candidates factored in, Romney stands at 48% and Obama has 47%. Of the third party candidates, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has 2%, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode holds 1%, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received less than one half of one percent in the poll.

The new CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 1,030 adults, including 922 registered voters and 681 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Florida • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. JG11

    Florida is waking up... I don't think Obama will win any state in the southeast, including VA, NC, or FL. I trust Gallup polls better than any of the media outlets and they have had Romney leading.... I'll bet if you go to NBC they have Obama leading...

    October 19, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Thaddius

    As usual, the Republicans have convinced 49% of folks to vote against their best interests.

    No newsflash here.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Dorkus Maximus

    Why would seniors want to deny younger generations access to the same social safety nets that are protecting them?

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. RTB

    Looks like Florida's going to be a sqeeker! I guess the GOP knew what they were doing with their voter suppression efforts. Looks like that might end up determining who wins Florida.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. vittoriokiss

    We always know FL is full of IDIOTS, so real Breaking News would be they found intelligent life in FL.

    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. enoughsaid

    Hey xflier93 – I am a professional Canadian woman – one of the dirty filthy scoundrel socialists. Firstly, our dollar is stronger than yours, I won't lose my house if I get ill, our stock market is regulated and so our economy did not slide like yours, our education is rated higher, no housing crisis, no soldiers sent to Iraq, entrepeneurs across our country were polled and the results were they would vote for Obama hands down. Oh woe is me....hard to be such a dirty rotten socialist. Now, Secondly, please educate yourself on political philosophy, constructs and forms of government. Socialism and communism are dramatically different. For instance, Canada is a social democracy. I guess we Canadians got it all wrong. And you want our oil...hahahahah

    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. New Citizen

    As a new citizen from Florida, I am for the President. Romney is just a fake, phoney guy who can flip flop to get votes from the electorate.

    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. sf

    ummm this is no surprise...the obama camp has been saying that they believe Florida would go to Romney anyway...and is this any surprise? floridians are the biggest idiots of them all! it's alright, we only need iowa, wisconsin and ohio to win! which ALL are leaning towards obama..so suck on that!

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Liz

    Wow, the elderly seem like they were deaf when watching this debate. Romney/Ryan will be the worst thing that will happen to Medicare & Social Security if you old folks elect them to move into the White House.

    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. pcalif

    When Wolf Blitzer announced this poll on CNN, John King (avid Republican), turned around and refuted it, saying that the Democrats will probably pull out of Florida, because the Republicans really are winning it. What kind of reporting is that?

    October 19, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Chris

    This poll oversamples democrats by a high margin and is going off of 2008 voter turnout to come up with a conclusion on 2012 likely voter turnout. Most of the polls this year have been this way. Add to it that independents typically swing in favor of the challanger by about a 75-25 percent marging and it spells trouble for the Obama Administration and their re-election prospects. Like my comments or not, I am telling the truth and I am not a Republican either, I am an independent.

    October 19, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. cyclonus11

    They were favoring Romney more recently, and it appears to be swinging back toward Obama. Romney's edge is slipping in Florida. Just need another Obama debate win and he has Florida in the bag.

    October 19, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. chris

    Please, just balance the damn budget already!! I would like to have money left over after bills are all said and done at the end of the month. Just balance the budget already!

    October 19, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. High Way

    I noticed that CNN journalists have slant in favor of Mitt Romney. Its in the details when they report the news and its shows. Also, they are becoming the king maker by totally ignoring and not putting into question Mitt's positions. Its the journalists job to report its contradictory position but they are not! I call it a free a pass for Mitt by the CNN journalists! Shame on you CNN journalists!

    October 19, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Guest

    @ all the ignorant fools claiming that Romney/Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher program for people already on it:

    They've said clearly many times that reforms would not affect anyone over 55. You're lying and you know it when you claim it will.

    That said, they SHOULD change it. You Baby Boomers already spent every dollar me, my children, and their children will ever pay in taxes.

    October 19, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. ObjectiveGuy

    Romney's lead in Florida will continue to grow in Florida, and I predict that the actual election won't even be all that close. This is an indicator of the rest of the country, where Romney's steady gains will result in him winning the election by a very comfortable margin. I'm not saying landslide, but it will be substantial. This time we'll get the hope and change that we actually WANT!

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Chad

    As a Florida voter I can't vote for either of these candidates, Gary Johnson has my vote, I have ONLY seen Gary Johnson signs here in the CF area, not a single Romney or Obama sign.

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Namebea

    Go Obama go...

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. vittoriokiss

    If Romney win, all those seniors in FL will regret they ever voted for him and I will be laughing my ass off when they can't pay for medical and end up homeless on the street. I will say good for you, thats what you wanted and thats what you get.

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. rosethornne

    ... and how many cellular-only households did they survey?
    None.

    Ancient households with phones hard-wired to the walls very well may be voting for Rmoney. He is after all, shiny white, male, rich, and old. People whose thinking has ossified are almost always more comfortable voting for the familiar, despite the fact that he is an empty shell lacking any convictions except what will get him what he wants at any given moment.

    Chronologically-accomplished people whose thinking is still lively and flexible, however, do not need to cling desperately to the familiar blankie of an outdated version of what President means, and can see that the non-traditional candidate has the interests of more people at heart.

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. chris

    Please, just balance the budget already!! everything else will fall into place..just balance the budget.

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. LJ1984

    I personally don't believe in polls. I don't think polling a few hundred or a little over a thousand people is accurate when determining who is in the lead. President Obama's loyal base will support him and Governor Romney's loyal base will back him. The question is will the president's base be as energized as the republican base if not the governor ill win. Republican's are more likely to vote than democrats. I personally think more people identify themselves as democrats but they just aren't as likely to vote.

    October 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. jnpa

    Before the debate it was Romney 49% – Obama 46%. After the debate it is Romney 49% – Obama 48%. Looks like Obama is catching up!

    October 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. 681

    How is this breaking news or important information with 681"Likely voters" out of a population of 19,000,000 + in the state of Florida? This is neither relevant or news worthy Wolf.

    October 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Carolyn

    CNN is not receiving accurate information. Florida is favoring Romney this year. Even the Orlando Sentinel , a liberal newspaper, is endorsing Romney.

    October 19, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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