Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, continuing his post-debate surge, closed to within 4 percentage points of President Barack Obama among likely voters in Pennsylvania, narrowing a 12-point gap less than a month ago.
The Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters conducted Oct. 12-14 gave the president a 50 percent to 46 percent advantage, compared with Obama’s 54 percent to 42 percent lead in the Sept. 18-24 survey before the two men held their first nationally televised debate on Oct. 3 in Denver. They debate again tonight.
Romney is “coming on strong in the Keystone State,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling institute in Hamden, Connecticut.
The Republican candidate opened up a 4-point national lead over Obama among likely voters, 50 percent to 46 percent, in the Gallup tracking poll covering the period Oct. 9-15. That’s his largest lead in the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The Pennsylvania results released today are similar to Quinnipiac polls conducted with CBS News and the New York Times in Colorado and Wisconsin, which showed gains for Romney in those swing states, albeit not as dramatic as in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, Obama led among likely women voters, 57 percent to 39 percent, while Romney held the advantage among men, 54 percent to 43 percent. Likely voters who described themselves as independent were behind Obama, 50 percent to 43 percent.
A majority of likely voters, 52 percent, said they viewed Obama favorably while 45 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion. By comparison, 46 percent said they viewed Romney favorably while 44 percent saw him negatively.
The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, businessman Tom Smith, also surged in the Quinnipiac poll. He now trails Democratic Senator Bob Casey Jr. by 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters. In a July 24-30 survey, Casey led 55 percent to 37 percent.
The poll was taken after Smith suggested that a woman impregnated by a rapist faced a decision similar to that of a pregnant unmarried woman contemplating whether to give birth. Smith later tried to clarify his comments, saying he didn’t intend to compare the two circumstances.
The survey of 1,519 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
In New Jersey, Obama led 51 percent to 43 percent, almost unchanged from his 51 percent to 44 percent edge in Quinnipiac’s Aug. 27-Sept. 2 survey. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez was ahead of Republican challenger Joseph Kyrillos, a state senator, 55 percent to 37 percent.
Quinnipiac’s survey of 1,319 likely voters taken Oct. 10-14 had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
Obama carried 55 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania and 57 percent in New Jersey in winning both states in 2008.