A new poll shows likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney moving ahead in the crucial swing state of Florida to take a 6-point lead over President Obama.
Romney holds a 47 to 41 percent lead among registered voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. Romney trailed Obama by 7 points in the same poll taken in March and held a 1-point lead early in May.
"Gov. Mitt Romney has slipped into the lead in Florida, and that standing is confirmed by his much better numbers than the president when voters are asked whether they view the candidates favorably or unfavorably,” said Peter A. Brown, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant vice president.
The poll found voters viewed Romney favorably by a 44 to 35 percent margin, while only 45 percent viewed Obama positively to 50 negative.
Romney leads Obama among men with 50 percent support to 37 percent and trails among women by only 1 point, with 44 percent to Obama’s 45.
Quinnipiac also found that Florida’s freshman Sen. Marco Rubio, a favorite of GOP conservatives, would boost Romney in the state. A Romney-Rubio ticket bests Obama and Vice President Biden by 49 percent to 41.
On the issue voters rank as most important, the economy, Romney is viewed as the better candidate. But Florida voters, mirroring those in other swing-states still see the president as more likeable. Seventy-six percent of Sunshine state voters say Obama is likeable to 58 percent for Romney. Even a majority of Republicans, 58 percent to 38, say Obama is likeable.
The poll also finds that Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage is not hurting him with the state’s voters. Given a three-way choice, 36 percent said they favored gay marriage, 34 percent preferred civil unions and 23 percent opposed all legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.
But the issue appears to rank low on voters' minds in a year dominated by economic issues. Twenty-two percent of Florida voters said gay marriage was “extremely important” or “very important” in the presidential race. Twenty-six percent said it was “somewhat” and 49 percent said “not important.”
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,722 registered voters from May 15-21 and has a 2.4 percentage point margin of error.