But it ain't the topline that's good for Romney and bad for Obama. It's the trend.
This poll represents a 5-point shift in Romney's favor (3 more points for him and 2 fewer for Obama), since the last CNN/ORC poll in August which had Obama on top. These latest Romney-Obama 49-48 figures are identical to a PPP poll on Sunday. And the shift is the same -- 5 points in Romney's favor -- since the last PPP poll in September that had identical toplines to CNN/ORC's the previous month (Obama-Romney 50-46).
The Miami Herald's poll had the biggest Romney-Obama lead, 51-44, in early October. The trend: 8 points in Romney's favor. That trend was identical to the 8-point shift that American Research Group found last week with its last poll, showing Romney-Obama 49-46.But that doesn't mean Obama has lost or Romney has won Florida. There's a good chance the race is tightening after Obama's solid debate performance this week. The third and final debate is at Lynn University in Boca Raton on Monday. More polls, obviously, will tell us more about the race and the effects of the last two debates.
And the debates matter. The Herald poll earlier this month indicated that the first debate had a major effect on the campaign. The newest ORC poll was taken after the second debate.
After Monday, it's almost all ground game.Democrats, for the first time in more than a decade, have narrowed the traditional Republican lead in casting early absentee ballots in Florida. In 2008, Democrats were behind 16 percentage points in absentee ballots cast at this point in the election. Now they're down 5. Democrats typically excel in in-person early voting, and they intend to do so when in-person precincts open Oct. 27.
As of this morning, 620,000 people had cast absentee ballots in Florida. About 1.8 million could be cast. Some background on today's figures are here.