FILE - In a Feb. 21, 2012 file photo President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh/file)
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, June 27, 2012
David Royse, The News Service of Florida
President Barack Obama was clinging to a narrow lead in Florida over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, fueled by a surprising lead among Hispanic voters, a new Quinnipiac University poll of swing states shows.
The poll released Wednesday found Obama with a 45 to 41 percent lead in Florida, with the president gaining some ground since the organization's last poll on May 3, which had Obama and Romney essentially in a dead heat.
But in a state where the Hispanic vote has for decades been so reliably Republican, a shift over the last few years that has put the Latino vote up for grabs was strikingly apparent in the Quinnipiac poll: Hispanic voters in the state give Obama a 56-32 percent lead right now.
The poll was after both candidates talked about immigration recently, and followed the president's change in immigration policy to allow younger immigrants brought to the country illegally to remain in many cases.
Florida voters support Obama's immigration initiative 58-33 percent, according to the poll, and by a 46-40 percent margin respondents said the president would do a better job on immigration than Romney.
Romney leads 50-35 percent among white voters, while the Obama leads 85-6 percent among black voters. The president had a 47-40 percent lead among women, with men evenly split.
Among crucial independent voters – an increasingly large number with no party and independent voters leading in new registration in several recent months in Florida – Obama held a 44-37 percent lead.
Voters were basically split on whether Obama is doing a good job and deserves another term. They were also essentially split down the middle on who would do a better job on the economy and who would be better for their own personal economic security.
The poll also asked voters about the state's U.S. Senate race and found it remains too close to call. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and the leading Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, are basically tied.
Pollster Peter Brown noted that in the Senate race, 17 percent of voters remain undecided.