The Hill's Meghashyam Mali reports on a new Tampa Bay Times poll showing Mitt Romney opening a lead in one of the nation's most crucial swing regions.
A Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 released Sunday shows Romney winning 51 percent support to Obama’s 45 among registered voters in Florida’s I-4 corridor.
The stretch of the state running from Tampa Bay on the Gulf coast to Daytona Beach in the east is seen as a crucial arena for winning the state’s swing voters.
Romney’s strong showing there gives him a strong foothold to capture the state, said Brad Coker of Mason Dixon Polling and Research which conducted the poll.
“Being that this is I-4, the Florida battleground, the region of the state that usually tells you how it's going to come out, for Romney to be up 6 points right now … they should be able to call Florida as soon as the polls close in Pensacola if they do their exit polling right,” Coker said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
What's especially striking?
How much better Romney's favorability rating in the region is than Obama's.
Mitt is currently at 52%/39% for +13% while Obama is at 47%/44% for +3%. Before October's series of debates, Obama long dominated Romney on the measure in swing states.
Also striking? Romney currently leads Obama in the Tampa Bay area, 50%-46%. Obama won the region by 3%, and it's long been considered the most accurate barometer of how the state will ultimately vote.