Poll finds Obama with 5-point lead in Florida

A new poll of Florida shows President Obama with a five-point advantage, encouraging news for his campaign in a crucial swing state.

Obama garnered 48 percent of voters in the new SurveyUSA poll conducted for Tampa's WFLA-TV, versus 43 percent for the Republican challenger, largely thanks to strong numbers among Hispanics and independents. The president leads among Hispanics 49-39 percent, self-described moderates 59-30 percent, and those not affiliated with a party by 46-35 percent. 

The path to victory for Romney is near-impossible without Florida's 29 electoral votes, and the Republican challenger has targeted the state as crucial to his efforts.

ADVERTISEMENT
One way Romney could endear himself to Florida voters is to pick their senator, Marco Rubio, as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Rubio is the choice of 35 percent of all voters and half of Republicans surveyed for Romney's running mate. Second place goes to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who garnered 19 percent of all voters, and 18 percent of Republicans. No other candidate broke double digits.

But despite a solid, if unspectacular, lead for Obama in the state, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson continues to slip in a head-to-head matchup with Rep. Connie Mack (R), his likely opponent in November's U.S. Senate election. Mack leads Nelson 48-42 percent, a disappointing showing for the incumbent, especially after early stumbles by Mack in the Republican primary.

But Mack has now pulled squarely ahead, leading in important demographic categories like voters above 50 (53-41 percent), and those who describe themselves as moderate (49-37 percent). Hispanics, who favor Obama by 10 points, side with Mack by 12 points — a 22-percentage point swing. In total, some nine percent of those surveyed who said they would vote for the president also said they would vote for Mack over Nelson.

The poll conducted from July 17 to 19 has a 4-point margin of error.