Daily News/Scripps poll: Romney and Obama in dead heat in Florida

In a photo combo, President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney address the audience during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Pool-Shannon Stapleton)

In a photo combo, President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney address the audience during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Pool-Shannon Stapleton)

On Nov. 6, voters will decide whether Florida will swing Red or Blue.

The Sunshine State is the most important of the battleground states where this year’s presidential election will be decided. Naples Daily News reporters and photographers have fanned out across Florida, talking to elected officials and ordinary people about their concerns, the issues that will determine how they vote, and grassroots efforts to sway the undecided.

How is the state leaning this year? This is a series of Daily News reports on Florida as a Swing State.

Swing state: Florida the prize in determining if Obama or Romney wins White House

Swing state: Hillsborough County has track record of choosing presidential winner

Swing state: Foreclosure and Medicare issues make Lehigh Acres vote key

Swing state: Unemployment plagues Fort Pierce; which candidate will jobless choose?

Swing state:Waning support for NASA workers leaves Space Coast's vote up in the air

Swing state: Jewish vote a must to Obama, an opportunity to Romney

Swing state: Democratic, conservative Duval a toss-up for Romney, Obama

Swing state: Florida's capital is a Democratic city surrounding Republican lawmakers

Swing state: Military base heavy Panhandle supports Romney, Obama tries to make gains

Swing state: Heavy population of Puerto Rican residents could tip vote in I-4 corridor

Swing state: Cuban population adds Republican bloc in Democratic South Florida

Swing state: Voter turnout the key to Obama, Romney victory

— The state's 29 electoral votes are up for grabs as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney descend on Florida for their third, and final, debate Monday.

A Naples Daily News/Scripps Presidential Poll of 800 likely voters throughout the state indicates a virtual dead heat in the race between Obama and Romney.

The poll, commissioned by E.W. Scripps television stations in West Palm Beach and Tampa, the Treasure Coast Newspapers and the Naples Daily News, shows the former Massachusetts governor with 48 percent of the vote to Obama's 47 percent of the vote. Four percent of voters said they still are undecided.

The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Wednesday and Thursday after Tuesday night's second presidential debate, has a plus-minus margin of error of 4 percent.

"It's just going to be down to the wire," said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at University of South Florida-Tampa. "Anyone can take it."

The Naples Daily News/Scripps poll showed results similar to one conducted by Public Policy Polling from Oct. 12 through Oct. 14, just days before the Oct. 16 presidential debate. In that poll, 49 percent of the 791 respondents said they would vote for Romney, while 48 percent said they would vote for Obama.

But Casey Klofstad, a political science professor at the University of Miami, said the polls could be missing key Democratic voting blocs because of its polling methods.

Public Policy Polling reaches out to voters using landline phones, not cellphones. Klofstad said a landline-only technique tends to under-report younger, poorer and minority voters who tend to only have a cellphone.

Obama fared better among black voters than Romney, with 80 percent support compared with 10 percent for Romney. More Hispanics, on the other hand, said they supported Romney, at 49 percent to 46 percent for Obama.

Jim Williams, an analyst at Public Policy Polling, said Romney's lead among Hispanic voters "can be chalked up to the South Florida Hispanic community, especially in the Miami area where they tend to vote more Republican."

But Kevin Wagner, a political science professor at east coast Florida Atlantic University, said it would have been helpful to see numbers subdivided among various Hispanic groups because some — Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, for example — tend to vote more Democratic.

Obama trounced Romney when it came to the youth vote, with 62 percent to Romney's 29 percent. That demographic was key in 2008 and experts have said it will continue to play a big role in the 2012 election. Romney won the white vote with 57 percent to Obama's 38 percent.

Still, while the traditional voting blocs are important, all eyes are on independent and persuadable voters.

Like the overall race, the fight for independents is a virtual dead heat, with 47 percent lined up behind Obama and 46 percent going for Romney, according to the Naples Daily News/Scripps Presidential Poll. That's a shift from Public Policy Polling's Oct. 12 through Oct. 14 poll, which showed 51 percent of independents supported Romney, while 43 percent supported Obama.

The number of voters surveyed in the Naples Daily News/Scripps Presidential Poll who said they would change their mind before Election Day — those much-sought-after persuadable voters — was small. None of the Democrats surveyed and only 2 percent of the Republicans said they may change their mind in the next two weeks.

Mickey Gargan, chairwoman for Collier County's Democratic Executive Committee, said the overall numbers were surprising, especially this late in the election season.

"It's extremely surprising," she said. "It's the wrong direction from what I would like."

Naples Mayor John Sorey, the honorary Collier County chairman for the Romney campaign, said he isn't surprised by the tight race.

"I think it's going to be a dead heat," Sorey said. "I think it's just that close. That's why I'm working 24/7 to get every vote out in Collier County."

Making sure every registered voter gets to the polls may be an easy task.

"Both sides are pumped up," Williams said, "and it's no surprise that partisanship is going to play such an important role (in the race)."

Eighty percent of those surveyed said they were "very enthusiastic" about the presidential election, while 13 percent said they were "somewhat enthusiastic."

Gargan said more locals are getting fired up about the presidential election, and in recent weeks her office has been flooded with volunteers.

What folks are getting sick of though, Gargan said, is campaign ads. But the Naples Daily News/Scripps Presidential Poll showed just 3 percent of respondents said political advertising is the most influential factor in their presidential choice.

That number, Wagner said, is a "truly misleading number."

"Nobody wants to admit that they're subject to being influenced by a 30-second commercial," he said. "The truth is, if political advertising, particularly negative political advertising, didn't work, politicians wouldn't be doing it."

Both Gargan and Sorey said the debates may have affected voters' feelings, but 42 percent of respondents said they made up their minds early and haven't been swayed by political advertising, conventions or the debates.

"Looks like it's going to be another nail-biter," Wagner said. "The race is a statistical tie that's probably going to come down to turnout, to which candidate gets his people to the polls just a little bit better than his opponent.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 11

RayPray writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OBAMA is even greater than GREAT.

But he needs your help.

Now is the time for you to double or triple your ca$h contribution to the OBAMA Kinnock Biden victory fund.

Otherwise, when BAIN cyborg Romney wins, here is where he will outsource all remaining jobs in America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/sci...

No_more_cyber_bullying (Inactive) writes:

It's all over except for counting the silverware!

RayPray writes:

"Pope names 7 new saints, including 2 from U.S."

1. Barrack Epiphaneis
2. Kinnock Biden

See here:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nat...

>>> Now Cyborg Romney has no hope for any Catholic Vote!

panola60 writes:

UNINSTALLING OBAMA.....……………. █████████████▒▒▒ 90% complete.

Caution: Interrupting this process will result in damage to your country

RayNetherwood writes:

Dead heat? Yes, I think the Dems do have more voting DEAD Florida folks than the Repubs do. Can't forget, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, and Klaus.

I've always thought Klaus to be alittle like HAL on 2001 ... there's just something not quite right.

Must love ODUMDUM. Must vote ODUMDUM. blah blah

RayNetherwood writes:

Klaus, your cutting and pasting is as marvelous as ODUMDUM your savior: "This is he country of"

Getting it wrong once is a typo, cutting and pasting mistakes with errors are the sign of an idiot.

Thanks for coming through. Hit it, Klauschen:

"Must love ODUMDUM. Must vote ODUMDUM."

EastCoastFloridaPerson writes:

in response to panola60:

UNINSTALLING OBAMA.....……………. █████████████▒▒▒ 90% complete.

Caution: Interrupting this process will result in damage to your country

Boy,you are good!!!Love it.

Sparky100 writes:

Uninstalling Obama......... ███████████████▒ 95% complete.

Current attempt to Reinstall Obama 2.0.....█▒▒█▒▒█▒▒█▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ Error.. Error.. Recalibrate.. Recalibrate.. Warning Will Robinson! Red Alert! Red Alert!

I'm sorry, we are encountering technical difficulties... People are waking up from the matrix….

EastCoastFloridaPerson writes:

Some Commander in chief. OBAMA doesn't even know that the military still uses horses in Afganistan,and they still do use bayonettes.

No_more_cyber_bullying (Inactive) writes:

Gallup Poll today and I do not mean dressage

52 Romney 45 Obama, biggest difference since 1968 and Nixon won by a landslide then.

Bye, Bye, Bama

RayNetherwood writes:

Klauschen is still illiterate.

"What a BS" ???! "This is HE country of" ...... what are we up to now, FOUR cut and pastes of the same chanting and error?

Klaus, Klaus, Klaus .... stick with German or Kenyan ... your English blows!

ODUMDUM is looking like yesterday's lettuce. Waaaaah.

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