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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012

Obama outpaces GOP challengers in key swing states, survey shows


President Obama has moved ahead of both of the major Republican contenders for president, according to a political survey released Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll showed Mr. Obama leading Mitt Romney in the swing state of Ohio by 47 percent to 41 percent and leading Rick Santorum by 47 to 40 percent.

The poll also surveyed two other key battleground states, Florida and Pennsylvania, and found Mr. Obama leading his two opponents, though within the margin of error in Pennsylvania against Mr. Romney. The President's strength comes largely from female voters, who favor Mr. Obama, while men are about even between the Democratic and Republican candidates, according to Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states. If the election were today, he would carry at least two states. And if history repeats itself, that means he would be re-elected," Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brown noted that two months ago Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney were in a statistical tie in Ohio.

He attributed the President's rising standing to the economy. The poll found that about six in 10 voters in all three states believe the economy is recovering, and 91 percent of voters said the candidates' stance on the economy is very important or extremely important.

Voters blame the oil companies and oil-producing countries for the rise in gasoline prices and only about one in six voters blame them on President Obama.

"Despite the focus on social issues such as same-sex marriage and women's reproductive health, these issues are lower priorities for the voters," Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Obama's job performance was approved by 47 percent and not approved by 49 percent, and Ohio voters split 48-48 on whether he deserves to be re-elected.

The poll also found Gov. John Kasich's job performance split 42-42 between approval and disapproval.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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