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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 2, 201212:00 PM EST

Quinnipiac poll gives Obama slight lead in Florida

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President Barack Obama has a slightly larger lead in Florida over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a new Quinnipiac poll than previous surveys indicate.

The Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll released Wednesday found Obama with a 51-45 percent lead over Romney in Florida. Pollsters said it can't be compared with earlier polls because it's the first measure of "likely voters."

Pollster Peter Brown said the lowering unemployment rate likely is helping Obama in Florida. "Half of all likely voters say the economy is the most important issue to their vote, far ahead of any other issue," Brown said. "The saving grace for Gov. Mitt Romney is that he roughly breaks even with the president on who is best on the economy."

Ten percent of voters polled said they might change their mind.

The Florida poll was part of a three state "swing" poll that also surveyed in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Romney backers have criticized the Quinnipiac poll about how many people it includes who say they're Democrats versus how many people identify as Republicans in its sample of voters. Backers argue the pollsters over-represent the number of Democrats polled.

But Democrats also have recently complained the poll undersampled Democrats when Romney was ahead.

In this case, 36 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans and 32 percent as independents. Republicans say the election turnout could be much closer than that.

The poll of 1,177 likely Florida voters was taken July 24-30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.

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