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Swing state poll redux: Cain, Romney lead GOP. Romney more trusted, better v. Obama

A majority of voters in the three most-important swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing and most believe he does not deserve re-election.

The voters' most-favored Republican: Mitt Romney, who is statistically tied in theoretical matchups with Obama. Only in Florida, though, does Romney show a lead against Obama by 45-42 percent split, according to the poll of registered voters.

"Of these three swing states President Obama carried in 2008, Florida was the biggest surprise and had the closest margin," Pollster Peter A. Brown said in a written statement. "Florida is shaping up to be the closest swing state again in 2012 and it's a fair bet that a year from now, it will be the toughest of the Big Three for Obama to carry."

But Romney might not get to face Obama if the election were held today. The poll shows that Florida Republican voters favor Herman Cain over Romney by a 27-21 percent split.  Newt Gingrich is in third with 17 percent. Cain also leads Romney in Ohio, with Gingrich in third. The two are tied in Pennsylvania at 17 percent each, with Gingrich tying for third with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Cain's lead might be short-lived amid numerous allegations that he sexually harassed women -- charges he vehemently denies. The polls, though, show Cain is starting to have a problem with female voters. At last night's debate, Cain might have done little to turn that around when he derisively referred to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "Princess Nancy," a phrase that led some Republican women to react negatively on Twitter.

"Questions about Herman Cain's behavior as head of the National Restaurant Association haven't derailed his candidacy so far, and he remains strong among Republicans. While the immediate effect hasn't been catastrophic, it's unclear whether the story will have legs that will make a larger dent in the 'Cain Train' as we get closer to the actual primaries," Brown said.
 "Nevertheless, there is a negative effect from the controversy on his standing among non-Republicans that gives him overall negative ratings on voter comfort level with him as president and whether he is honest and trustworthy. The gender gap is large as women in each state are more negative on Cain."
The poll also found that pluralities of voters in all three swing states are more likely to have unfavorable than favorable views of the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements.
Here's a  bullet point list of the state polling numbers:

Florida: Cain 27 percent, Romney 21 percent, Gingrich 17 percent Perry at 5 percent in the Republican primary. In a general-election matchup, Romney leads Obama 45-42 percent.

Florida: voters disapprove of Obama's job performance by 52 - 41 percent split. By a 51 - 43 percent spread, they say he does not deserve reelection. By contrast, voters dislike Republican Gov. Rick Scott about as much, with 50 percent disapproving of his job performance and 36 percent approving.
Ohio: Cain 25 percent, Romney 20 percent, Gingrich 11 percent, Ron Paul 9 percent, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann tied at 4 percent in the Republican race. Obama beats all in a general-election matchup, but Romney matches best against the president who leads him by a 45-42 percent spread.

Ohio: voters disapprove of Obama's job performance by a 50 - 44 percent split, with 46 percent he saying he should be re-elected and 48 percent saying he should.

Pennsylvania: Cain and Romney are tied at 17 percent, Santorum and Gingrich are tied at 13 percent, Perry and Paul are at 5 percent in the Republican primary. Romney matches up best against Obama, by a 43-44 percent split.

Pennsylvania: voters disapprove of Obama's job performance by a 52 - 44 percent split and say by a 50 - 46 margin that he does not deserve reelection.

A breakdown of the sample sizes, which consultants of both parties and other pollsters are sure to say improperly models the electorate:

1,185 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent, including 513 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent;

1,312 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent, including 443 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent;

1,436 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent, including 579 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.

Full poll press release is here