Romney’s Florida Advantage Widens

Photograph by Todd Heisler/The New York Times via Redux

Mitt Romney with supporters during a campaign event in Lehigh Acres, Fla.

The biggest swing state is turning Mitt Romney’s way.

In three months of polling, the balance of support in Florida has swung from President Barack Obama to Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and likely Republican presidential nominee.

And Florida’s junior senator could help tip it even more.

Romney holds an advantage over Obama among Florida voters by a margin of 47 percent to 41 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released today shows.

Both campaigns are active in this critical state, with 29 electoral votes at stake. Obama won the Sunshine State in 2008 by fewer than 3 percentage points.

The poll shows the Republican could extend his lead to 49-41 percentage points if he picked Senator Marco Rubio of Florida as his running mate. Rubio, for his part, has voiced doubt about his chances of joining the ticket.

On May 3, when Quinnipiac showed its last snapshot of Florida, Romney led Obama by just 44-43, a statistical tie. On March 28, Obama led Romney by 49-42.

If Obama carried the state again in November,  he would be the first Democratic presidential candidate with consecutive victories there since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In more recent years, it has taken a Southern Democrat to carry Florida — yet  President Jimmy Carter of Georgia won only one term, elected in 1976, and President Bill Clinton of Arkansas lost Florida in 1992 and won it in 1996.

The lastest poll, conducted May 15-21, surveyed 1,722 registered voters with a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.


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