President Obama waves at supporters after speaking at an Obama Victory… (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty…)
WASHINGTON -- President Obama’s shift on immigration has boosted the president's support in a few key battleground states, with a new poll placing the president and his revised policy ahead of Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania and Ohio, while Obama holds a slight advantage in a neck-and-neck battle in Florida.
The poll was conducted by Quinnipiac University after the Obama administration announced that young immigrants who had entered the country illegally before the age of 16 would be allowed to apply for work permits and not be subject to deportation, provided they had spent five years in the United States and met other criteria.
In Florida, which has a larger Latino population than the other two states, the effect of Obama’s immigration stance is key. Hispanic voters in the state currently back the president over Romney 56% to 32%, a five-point jump from a poll conducted before the immigration announcement, which had Obama ahead of Romney 49% to 39%. And the immigration policy itself has wide support, favored 58% to 33% by Floridians.
It’s in part because of that increase in Latino support that Obama, who in early May was essentially tied with Romney in Florida, has pulled slightly ahead, 45% to 41%. But Obama’s four-point lead is still within the poll’s margin of error, keeping Florida in a dead heat between the two candidates.
Obama holds his widest lead in Ohio, where he’s ahead of Romney by nine points, 47% to 38%. Similar to Florida, the president’s immigration policy is popular (52% back it compared with 38% against) and his widest demographic leads are powered by women and minority voters.
Though Obama leads Romney in Pennsylvania 45% to 39%, voters view him more negatively than in the other two battleground states. More voters view him negatively (49%) than positively (45%) and the number of voters who think he doesn’t deserve reelection (47%) is about the same as those who think he does (45%). Even so, his immigration policy is popular, favored by Pennsylvania voters 51% to 41%.
“Pennsylvania voters have no great love for Obama, but at this point they like Romney less,” said Tim Mallow, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling wing.
Although the poll results are good news for the Obama campaign, particularly given Tuesday’s release of a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll that found him ahead of Romney nationally, 47% to 44%, the results are merely a current snapshot.
“Of course the election is more than four months away, which is a lifetime in politics,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Quininnipiac’s poll was conducted between June 19-25, among 1,200 Florida voters, 1,237 Ohio voters and 1,252 Pennsylvania voters, each with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%.