Romney Takes Slight Leads In Florida, North Carolina

Kyle Leighton

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is up 2 percent in North Carolina and a single point in Florida, according in two polls released Sunday by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.

Romney leads President Obama 49 percent to 47 percent in North Carolina, and 49 percent to 48 percent in Florida. It was an improvement for Romney in both states -- PPP's late September poll of North Carolina showed the two candidates tied at 48 percent, while Obama held a 50 percent to 46 percent lead over Romney in the Sunshine State more than three weeks ago.

"Mitt Romney has the momentum after his strong debate performance last week, but Barack Obama's still very much in it," Dean Debnam, President of PPP said in a statement about Florida. Debnam said that things in North Carolina are "trending a little bit in Mitt Romney's direction and Obama needs a strong performance Tuesday night to get things going back in the other direction."

Romney has a 4-point lead in the PollTracker Average of the race in Florida.

"There's been a fairly large shift among white voters over the last three weeks," PPP's analysis said of the Florida numbers. "They've gone from favoring Romney by 11 points at 53-42 to 17 points at 57-40. Non-white voters are pretty steady from the last poll including Hispanics who give Obama a slight edge at 50/47. Obama has a small advantage with voters under 65, but Romney erases that with a 52/45 advantage among seniors. Likewise Obama's up with women (51-47) but Romney's ahead by even more with men (52-44)."

PPP shows President Obama's approval rating as negative in both states — 48 percent of likely voters in both states approve of the job he's doing, and 50 percent disapprove. Romney's personal rating has improved significantly after his good debate performance on Oct. 3: Previously only 44 percent of Floridans had a favorable review of the GOP nominee, and now 49 percent do. Romney has seen some upward movement on the same metric in North Carolina, although not as sharply.

Romney also leads the PollTracker Average of North Carolina by a 1.9 percent margin.

While Romney has seen small gains in these two states, PPP also released a poll Saturday night showing President Obama still above 50 percent in Ohio, leading Romney by 5 percent. No Republican has ever won the White House without the state.

The PPP poll of Florida used 791 automated interviews with likely voters via landline (automated surveys are prohibited from calling cell phones) conducted Oct. 12-14 and carries a sampling error of 3.4 percent. The poll of North Carolina used 1,084 automated interviews with likely voters conducted Oct. 12-14 and had a sampling error of 3.0 percent.