We Ask America continues a second dip into our “Big Ten” states by revisiting Florida and Pennsylvania. Of the two, Florida clearly is viewed as the more pivotal region, and that’s where’s we’ll begin.


It may be a blinding glimpse of the obvious, but Medicare looms large in Florida. One of Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan’s first stops after being nominated was to visit seniors (including his mother) in central Florida. There, any change in senior services–especially health care–are measured as seismic events. But, like the rest of the nation, the debate currently isn’t about health care or even the economy in Florida. Instead, a big chunk of the Sunshine State’s population is counting themselves among the “47%” who receive help from our government–the very segment Mitt Romney inartfully mentioned in his candid camera appearance at a fundraiser. The aftergaffe (new word alert!) did as much damage as the gaffe itself–at least among the cable gabfest crowd. But how will the VOTERS react?

Tuesday night, we asked 1,230 likely Florida voters how they planned to vote. We included Libertarian Gary Johnson to see if a third-party candidate may have an effect. Since we hadn’t polled the race for U.S. Senate yet (Florida had a mid-August Primary), we asked our participants to also choose between Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Connie Mack. As always, the responses are weighted to correct for over-/under-sampling in a number of criteria:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 18, 2012 - Participants: 1,230 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.82%
PRESIDENTBarack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS49.1%45.5%1.3%4.1%
GOP ONLY14.7%80.9%0.8%3.6%
DEM ONLY82.0%13.5%0.5%4.0%
IND ONLY43.7%45.6%3.3%7.4%
SENATEBill NelsonConnie MackUndecided
ALL VOTERS46.7%41.5%11.8%
GOP ONLY14.7%69.7%15.6%
DEM ONLY81.3%11.6%7.1%
IND ONLY41.7%40.4%17.9%


Republicans in the Keystone State hoped that their successes in 2010 would carry over into 2012. But Democrat incumbent Senator Bob Casey hasn’t yet been pushed hard by wealthy Republican challenger Tom Smith (RCP’s polling average gives Casey a 15% lead), and the wished-for “weakened” Barack Obama is thus far a pipe dream. We’ll poll the Casey-Smith race soon, but for now we’re more interested in whether Romney’s numbers will follow the pattern of ebbing we’re seeing in other key states. Let’s see:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 18, 2012 - Participants: 1,214 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.85%
 Barack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS48.1%42.2%0.8%8.9%
GOP ONLY13.7%78.9%0.4%7.0%
DEM ONLY81.4%11.1%0.6%6.9%
IND ONLY39.4%44.5%3.0%13.1%

While Romney is doing relatively well with Independents, the burgeoning Democratic growth in Philly’s burbs and demise of the old Republican Machine is a steep hill for him to climb. As in Florida, President Obama’s ascent (or Romney’s decline) is incremental.  Sure, there’s been a notch brought on by a one-two punch of a strong Democratic convention bump and Romney’s stumbles, but the underlying numbers simple don’t support the theory that Romney is in a free fall.