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Poll: McCain Catching Up In Battlegrounds

New polling data from Quinnipiac University indicates Sen. John McCain is closing in on Sen. Barack Obama among likely voters in three key swing states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. From the press release:

  • Florida: Obama has 46 percent to McCain’s 44 percent [with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points], compared to a 47 - 43 percent Obama lead June 18;
  • Ohio: Obama has 46 percent to McCain’s 44 percent [+/- 2.8 percentage points], compared to a 48 - 42 percent Obama lead least time;
  • Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 49 - 42 percent [+/- 2.7 percentage points], compared to 52 - 40 percent.

The poll found that among independent voters McCain holds a five-point lead in Florida and is up by two points in Ohio. The data contains one bit of good news for Obama — Pennsylvania independents favor him by 11 points over McCain. Of course, Sen. John Kerry carried Pennsylvania in 2004 — but lost Ohio and Florida — so holding it will not bring Obama any closer to the presidency. But if Obama can hold all the states Kerry won in 2004, and pick up either Florida or Ohio — which have 27 and 20 electoral votes, respectively — he will win the election.

These new numbers indicate that despite Obama’s domination of the media coverage last week with his trip to the Middle East and Europe — which was almost all positive — it hasn’t boosted his numbers in the biggest battleground states, where McCain has been running his negative ads. According to FactCheck.org, many of these ads contained false or misleading information about Obama — which suggests McCain is not paying a price for his campaign’s deceptive practices and reinforces the axiom that politicians "go negative" for one big reason: it works.

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