August 8, 2012 - Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado White House Races Close, Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News Swing State Poll Finds

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  • COLORADO: Romney 50 - Obama 45
  • VIRGINIA: Obama 49 - Romney 45
  • WISCONSIN: Obama 51 - Romney 45
President Barack Obama edges Gov. Mitt Romney by 6 percentage points among Wisconsin likely voters, and by 4 points in Virginia, while Romney is up by 5 points in Colorado, according to a Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News Swing State Poll released today.

Voters in these swing states generally oppose tougher gun laws and say stricter laws would not prevent mass shootings such as the Aurora massacre, but by wide margins they favor banning the sale of high-capacity magazines for guns.

Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states shows:
  • Colorado: Romney at 50 percent to Obama's 45 percent;
  • Virginia: Obama at 49 percent to Romney's 45 percent;
  • Wisconsin: Obama edges Romney 51 - 45 percent.
The gender gap continues to dominate the presidential race as Obama leads among women 51 - 43 percent in Colorado, 54 - 40 percent in Virginia and 59 - 36 percent in Wisconsin, the survey by Quinnipiac/The Times/CBS finds. Romney leads among men 56 - 39 percent in Colorado, 50 - 45 percent in Virginia and 53 - 43 percent in Wisconsin.

"There is good reason why Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin are considered swing states - and this data shows how close they are," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Most voters say they have made up their minds. Nine out of 10 in each state say they are sure they will vote for the candidate they favor, which means that the pool of those who say they can be persuaded is pretty small.

"History tells us that many voters who say they are sure will change their mind in the next 90 days," Brown added.

"A much larger share of Obama supporters describe themselves as strong supporters of the president, while more Romney voters say their decision is based on dislike of the president.

"Voters in Virginia and Wisconsin see the two candidates as roughly even on the question of who can best fix the economy, but Romney is ahead 10 points in Colorado. There is a difference in how voters think the election returns will affect their wallets. In Colorado and Wisconsin, more voters think Gov. Mitt Romney's policies rather than President Barack Obama's policies will help them personally. At the same time, more voters in each state think Obama's policies will hurt them more than Romney's policies.

"On gun control, voters in each state support a ban on high-volume ammunition magazines, but, except for Virginia, a plurality in each state says there is no need to change their gun laws. Most telling is the strong majority view that stricter gun control is unlikely to be effective in preventing events like the movie theater shooting in Aurora Colorado last month." Colorado

Each candidate gets more than 90 percent of likely voters in their own party. Colorado's independent voters split with 47 percent for Romney and 45 percent for Obama.

Among Romney voters, 51 percent strongly favor him while 27 percent back him with reservations and 21 percent are mostly voting against Obama. Among Obama backers, 62 percent strongly favor him while 30 percent have reservations and 7 percent dislike Romney.

The economy is the most important presidential campaign issue for 48 percent of voters, with 19 percent who list health care and 11 percent who list the budget deficit. Romney would do a better job on the economy, Colorado voters say 51 - 41 percent. Obama would be better on health care, 47 percent of voters say, while 45 percent pick Romney.

Obama's policies would hurt their personal financial situation, 43 percent of voters say, while 22 percent say they would help and 33 percent say they would make no difference. Romney's policies would help them, 34 percent of voters say while 30 percent say they would hurt and 32 percent say they would make no difference.

Presidential candidates should release several years of tax returns, 48 percent of voters say; 21 percent want to see one or two years of returns and 26 percent say keep returns private.

Colorado's gun laws should be kept the same, 50 percent of voters say, while 38 percent want tougher laws and 8 percent want less strict gun laws. Tougher gun laws would not be an effective way to curb violent acts such as the Aurora shooting, voters say 66 - 30 percent.

Voters favor 58 - 35 percent, however, a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Colorado voters approve 66 - 18 percent of the job Gov. John Hickenlooper is doing.

"If President Obama could run within 10 points of Gov. John Hickenlooper, he would win Colorado. At this point the president is significantly less popular than the governor, who has one of the highest approval ratings of the governors in the nine states surveyed by Quinnipiac University," Brown said.

Virginia

Virginia's independent likely voters back Romney 50 - 43 percent.

While 40 percent of Romney voters strongly favor him, 36 percent like him with reservations and 22 percent are voting mainly against Obama. Obama is strongly favored by 68 percent of his supporters, while 25 percent have reservations and 7 percent don't like Romney.

The economy is the biggest campaign issue, 49 percent of voters say, while 19 percent list health care and 10 percent point to the budget deficit.

Romney would do a better job on the economy, 47 percent of voters say, while 45 percent pick Obama. The president would do a better job on health care, voters say 49 - 42 percent.

Obama's policies would hurt rather than help their personal finances, Virginia voters say 39 - 26 percent, while 34 percent say they would make no difference. Romney's policies would hurt more than help, voters say 30 - 28 percent, while 37 percent see no difference.

Presidential candidates should release several years of tax returns, 52 percent of voters say; 19 percent want to see one or two years of returns and 23 percent say keep returns private.

Virginia voters are divided 44 - 44 percent on whether they want tougher gun laws or the current laws, while 9 percent want less strict laws. Tougher gun laws would not prevent Aurora- type violence, voters say 60 - 37 percent.

But Virginia voters favor 52 - 42 percent a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Virginia voters approve 52 - 29 percent of the job Gov. Bob McDonnell is doing.

The U.S. Senate race is too close to call with 48 percent for Democrat Tim Kaine and 46 percent for Republican George Allen.

"Virginia's U.S. Senate has been a dead heat since it began," said Brown. "It's pretty clear that whether George Allen or Tim Kaine becomes the Old Dominion's next senator, it almost certainly will be by a razor-thin margin."

Wisconsin

Wisconsin's independent likely voters are divided with 48 percent for Obama and 47 percent for Romney.

Among Obama voters, 64 percent strongly favor him, while 30 percent have reservations and 6 percent say they are voting against Romney. Romney wins strong support from 42 percent of his backers, while 35 percent have reservations and 21 percent are against Obama.

The economy is the biggest campaign issue for 47 percent of Wisconsin voters, while 24 percent list health care and 13 percent cite the deficit.

Obama would do a better job on the economy, 47 percent of voters say, while 46 percent say Romney. The president would do a better job on health care, voters say 49 - 43 percent.

Obama's policies would hurt rather than help their personal finances, voters say 35 - 22 percent, with 41 percent who see no difference. Romney would hurt more than help, voters say 31 - 28 percent, with 37 percent who see no difference.

Candidates should release several years of tax returns, 52 percent of voters say, while 18 percent want to see one or two years of returns and 26 percent say keep returns private.

Keep Wisconsin's gun laws the same, 48 percent of voters say, while 43 percent want tougher laws and 6 percent want less strict laws. Tougher gun laws would not help prevent gun violence such as the Aurora shootings, voters say 57 - 40 percent.

Wisconsin voters favor 57 - 37 percent, however, a nationwide ban on the sale of high capacity magazines.

Wisconsin voters approve 52 - 44 percent of the job Gov. Scott Walker is doing.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, is locked in a tight race with each of three leading Republican contenders:
  • Baldwin and former Gov. Tommy Thompson tied at 47 - 47 percent;
  • Baldwin at 47 percent to businessman Eric Hovde's 43 percent;
  • Baldwin at 48 percent for former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann's 45 percent.
"No matter who wins next week's GOP senate primary the fall campaign against U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin looks like it will be a nail-biter," Brown said.

From July 31 - August 6, Quinnipiac University, in cooperation with The New York Times and CBS News, surveyed:
  • 1,463 Colorado likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent;
  • 1,412 Virginia likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent;
  • 1,428 Wisconsin likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent.
Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

For individual statewide crosstabs call (203) 582-5201 or click: Crosstabs by State


1. If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama the Democrat and Mitt Romney the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Obama or Romney? (Table includes leaners)
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Obama                45%    49%    51%
Romney               50     45     45
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -
DK/NA                 4      5      4
 
 
1a. (If candidate chosen q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS......
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q1
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Mind made up         91%    90%    90%
Might change          8      9      9
DK/NA                 1      1      1
 
 
1b. (If Obama q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     OBAMA Q1.........
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Mind made up         88%    90%    90%
Might change         11      9     10
DK/NA                 1      1      -
 
 
1c. (If Romney q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     ROMNEY Q1........
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Mind made up         93%    90%    89%
Might change          6      8      8
DK/NA                 1      1      2
 
 
2. Is your opinion of - Mitt Romney favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Favorable            47%    40%    41%
Unfavorable          42     44     43
Hvn't hrd enough      9     13     14
REFUSED               2      3      2
 
 
3. Is your opinion of - Barack Obama favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Favorable            46%    50%    53%
Unfavorable          50     46     44
Hvn't hrd enough      1      2      2
REFUSED               2      2      2
 
 
4a. (If Obama q1) Would you describe your support for Barack Obama as strongly favoring him, or do you like him but with reservations, or do you support him because you dislike Mitt Romney?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     OBAMA Q1.........
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Strongly favor       62%    68%    64%
Like/Reservations    30     25     30
Dislike Romney        7      7      6
DK/NA                 1      1      -
 
 
4b. (If Romney q1) Would you describe your support for Mitt Romney as strongly favoring him, or do you like him but with reservations, or do you support him because you dislike Barack Obama?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     ROMNEY Q1........
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Strongly favor       51%    40%    42%
Like/Reservations    27     36     35
Dislike Obama        21     22     21
DK/NA                 2      2      1
 
 
5. (In Virginia) If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Tim Kaine the Democrat and George Allen the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Kaine or Allen? (Table includes leaners)
                     VIRGINIA LIKELY VOTERS..............................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Kaine                48%     6%    91%    41%    44%    51%    38%    84%
Allen                46     92      6     49     50     42     56      8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      1      -      -      -
DK/NA                 6      2      3      9      6      7      6      8
 
 
5a. (In Wisconsin) If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Tammy Baldwin the Democrat and Tommy Thompson the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Baldwin or Thompson? (Table includes leaners)
                     WISCONSIN LIKELY VOTERS......................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht
 
Baldwin              47%     6%    86%    40%    40%    53%    46%
Thompson             47     90     10     50     55     39     49
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                 5      3      3      8      3      7      5
 
 
5b. (In Wisconsin) If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Tammy Baldwin the Democrat and Eric Hovde the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Baldwin or Hovde? (Table includes leaners)
                     WISCONSIN LIKELY VOTERS......................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht
 
Baldwin              47%     4%    90%    43%    41%    54%    46%
Hovde                43     90      5     46     51     35     45
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                 8      5      6     11      7     10      8
 
 
5c. (In Wisconsin) If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Tammy Baldwin the Democrat and Mark Neumann the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Baldwin or Neumann? (Table includes leaners)
                     WISCONSIN LIKELY VOTERS......................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht
 
Baldwin              48%     4%    91%    43%    41%    55%    46%
Neumann              45     91      5     48     54     36     47
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                 6      4      4      8      5      8      6
 
 
5d. (In Wisconsin) If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Tammy Baldwin the Democrat and Jeff Fitzgerald the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Baldwin or Fitzgerald? (Table includes leaners)
                     WISCONSIN LIKELY VOTERS......................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht
 
Baldwin              51%     7%    91%    48%    46%    56%    49%
Fitzgerald           39     83      4     41     46     33     41
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      -      1
DK/NA                 9     10      5     10      7     11      9
 
 
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way John Hickenlooper(CO)/Bob McDonnell(VA)/Scott Walker(WI) is handling his job as Governor?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Approve              66%    52%    52%
Disapprove           18     29     44
DK/NA                17     20      4
 
 
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Approve              44%    47%    51%
Disapprove           53     49     46
DK/NA                 3      4      3
 
 
8. In deciding who you would like to see elected President this year, which one of the following issues will be most important to you, national security, the economy, health care, the budget deficit, taxes, immigration, or something else?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
National security     4%     4%     3%
The economy          48     49     47
Health care          19     19     24
The budget deficit   11     10     13
Taxes                 4      6      3
Immigration           3      2      2
Something else        8      7      7
DK/NA                 3      2      1
 
 
9. Compared to past presidential elections, how would you describe your level of enthusiasm about voting in this year's presidential election; are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as usual?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
More                 35%    32%    32%
Less                 16     18     15
About the same       48     48     52
DK/NA                 -      1      1
 
 
10. Do you think the nation's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Better               26%    24%    25%
Worse                42     38     36
The same             31     36     38
DK/NA                 1      2      1
 
 
11. Do you think (Colorado/Virginia/Wisconsin)'s economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Better               33%    30%    30%
Worse                24     16     29
The same             42     51     40
DK/NA                 2      3      2
 
 
12. Would you say that - Barack Obama cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Yes                  52%    59%    57%
No                   44     37     40
DK/NA                 3      4      3
 
 
13. Would you say that - Mitt Romney cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Yes                  47%    44%    41%
No                   46     48     51
DK/NA                 7      8      8
 
 
14. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job on - the economy, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Obama                41%    45%    47%
Romney               51     47     46
DK/NA                 8      8      7
 
 
15. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job on - health care, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Obama                47%    49%    49%
Romney               45     42     43
DK/NA                 8      9      8
 
 
16. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job on - national security, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Obama                41%    48%    53%
Romney               50     43     39
DK/NA                 8     10      8
 
 
17. If Barack Obama is reelected, do you think his economic policies would help your personal financial situation, hurt your personal financial situation, or won't make a difference?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Help                 22%    26%    22%
Hurt                 43     39     35
No difference        33     34     41
DK/NA                 2      1      2
 
 
18. If Mitt Romney is elected, do you think his economic policies would help your personal financial situation, hurt your personal financial situation, or won't make a difference?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Help                 34%    28%    28%
Hurt                 30     30     31
No difference        32     37     37
DK/NA                 4      5      4
 
 
19. From what you have read or heard, does Mitt Romney have the right kind of business experience to get the economy creating jobs again or is Romney's kind of business experience too focused on making profits?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Right experience     48%    43%    43%
Focused on profits   42     47     48
DK/NA                10     10      9
 
 
20. Which comes closest to your view of Barack Obama's economic policies, A) They are improving the economy now, and will probably continue to do so, or B) They have not improved the economy yet, but will if given more time, or C) They are not improving the economy and probably never will.
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
A)Improving now      21%    24%    23%
B)Will improve       26     29     33
C)Will never improve 51     46     42
ECONOMY WORSE(VOL)    1      -      -
DK/NA                 1      1      1
 
 
21. Do you think presidential candidates should publicly release several years of tax returns, or is releasing only one or two years of tax returns necessary, or don't you think it is necessary for presidential candidates to release any of their tax returns?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Several years        48%    52%    52%
One or two years     21     19     18
Not necessary        26     23     26
DK/NA                 4      6      3
 
 
22. In order to reduce the federal budget deficit, do you support or oppose raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Support              56%    59%    66%
Oppose               40     36     30
DK/NA                 4      5      4
 
 
23. How important will television campaign ads be to your vote for President this year, very important, somewhat important, not so important, or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Very important        5%     7%     6%
Smwht important      11     13     12
Not so important     17     17     22
Not important at all 67     62     60
DK/NA                 -      1      -
 
 
24. Have you seen any commercials on television for - Mitt Romney, or not? IF YES: Did most of Mitt Romney's television commercials spend more time explaining what Mitt Romney stands for, or did they spend more time attacking Barack Obama?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Explained Romney     22%    21%    20%
Attacked Obama       58     57     48
No/Haven't seen       9     10     20
DK/NA                11     12     12
 
 
25. Have you seen any commercials on television for - Barack Obama, or not? IF YES: Did most of Barack Obama's television commercials spend more time explaining what Barack Obama stands for, or did they spend more time attacking Mitt Romney?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Explained Obama      22%    28%    32%
Attacked Romney      58     52     41
No/Haven't seen       8      9     18
DK/NA                12     11      9
 
 
26. Do you think the laws covering the sale of guns in (Colorado/Virginia/Wisconsin) should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
More strict          38%    44%    43%
Less strict           8      9      6
Kept the same        50     44     48
DK/NA                 4      3      3
 
 
27. As you may know, high-capacity magazines or clips can hold many rounds of ammunition, so a shooter can fire more rounds without manually reloading. Would you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines that hold many rounds of ammunition?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Favor                58%    52%    57%
Oppose               35     42     37
DK/NA                 7      6      6
 
 
28. Overall, do you think the presidential candidates have spent too much time, too little time, or about the right amount of time talking about laws covering the sale of guns?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Too much time        19%    18%    19%
Too little time      36     45     41
The right amount     30     26     29
DK/NA                15     11     11
 
 
29. How much have you heard or read about the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado where James Holmes allegedly shot and killed a number of people in a movie theater; a lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
A lot                89%    77%    74%
Some                  9     20     23
Not much              1      3      2
Nothing at all        -      -      -
DK/NA                 -      -      -
 
 
30. Do you personally believe that stricter laws covering the sale of guns would be an effective way to prevent these types of violent acts, or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     CO     VA     WI
 
Yes                  30%    37%    40%
No                   66     60     57
DK/NA                 4      3      4
 
 

Additional info by state:
Colorado: Crosstabs Demographic Summary
Virginia: Crosstabs Demographic Summary
Wisconsin: Crosstabs Demographic Summary