Poll: Romney Claims Slight Edge in 15 'Battleground' States

National Journal

President Obama remains marginally ahead of Mitt Romney in a new national CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday, although Romney leads Obama in the 15 states identified by the network as battleground states.

Obama leads Romney nationally, 49 percent to 46 percent, with 4 percent of those surveyed saying they would vote for another candidate or neither candidate. That is inside the poll's margin of error, and it is identical to the 49 percent to 46 percent lead Obama had in the previous poll, conducted in late May. It is also similar to the latest Gallup tracking poll, which shows Obama leading Romney by 5 percentage points, the president's high-water mark from a survey house that has been less favorable to him thus far during the campaign. That lead among registered voters is Obama's largest in Gallup since April.

However, in the 15 states CNN calls its battleground states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin —  Romney leads Obama, 51 percent to 43 percent. Notably, though, the CNN/ORC International group includes three states thought to be comfortably in the Romney column this cycle: Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey contained a subsample of voters in 12 states, not the same 15 in this new survey. The NBC/Wall Street Journal did not include the aforementioned trio of states where Romney leads in the polls. It showed Obama leading in its 12 swing states by 8 points. However, those results cannot be compared to the CNN/ORC International poll's as they do not attempt to survey the same electorate and both have relatively small sample sizes (the NBC/Wall Street Journal swing-state sample was smaller).

Nationally, Obama's slight, statistically insignificant advantage in the CNN survey is built on a healthy gender gap: Romney leads among men by 5 points, Obama by 11 among women— and a strong showing from young voters. Voters under age 35 favor the president, 62 percent to 35 percent. Among voters 50 and older, Romney leads, 53 percent to 43 percent.

Obama also wins 39 percent of the white vote, which is often cited as his target for winning reelection. Four-in-five nonwhites say they would vote for Obama over Romney.

The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted June 28-July 1, surveying 1,390 registered voters. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The subsample of registered voters in the 15 battleground states comprises  534 interviews; those results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 points.

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